The world is in mourning after the devastating news that former Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant passed away early Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, TMZ reports. Bryant was 41 years old.
Nine people were killed in the crash that occurred Sunday morning, per the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, as TMZ detailed. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna Maria-Onore was also on board when the helicopter crashed. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Los Angeles great along with his daughter were en route to play basketball at his Mamba Academy near Thousand Oaks.
Members of the NBA Community React to Kobe Bryant’s Death
Numerous members of the basketball community reacted to the news of Kobe Bryant’s passing. This included former players such as Michael Jordan, and Shaquille O’Neal.
“I am in shock over the tragic news of Kobe’s and Gianna’s passing. Words can’t describe the pain I’m feeling. I loved Kobe – he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often and I will miss those conversations very much,” said Jordan, per Sports Illustrated. “He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force. Kobe was also an amazing dad who loved his family deeply – and took great pride in his daughter’s love for the game of basketball. Yvette joins me in sending my deepest condolences to Vanessa, the Lakers organization and basketball fans around the world.”
Bryant’s former teammate Shaquille O’Neal shared his condolences to Bryant’s family and the rest of the individuals that lost their lives in the crash.
“There’s no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of loosing my neice Gigi & my brother @kobebryant I love u and u will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW,” O’Neal said on Twitter.
Tiger Woods Also Weighed on Kobe Bryant’s Death
Tiger Woods was playing the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines and heard the news from his caddie Joe LaCava as they made their way from the 18th green to the scorer’s tent, according to Golf.com.
“I didn’t really understand why people were saying, ‘Do it for Mamba [Bryant’s nickname],’ but now I understand,” Woods said. “It’s a shocker to everyone. I’m unbelievably sad. For me, reality is just setting in because I was told probably five minutes ago.”
CBS Sports’ Amanda Balionis also asked Woods what he will remember most about Bryant.
“The fire — he burns so competitively hot — and the desire to win,” Woods said. “He brought it each and every night on both ends of the floor. Not too many guys can say that throughout NBA history. He locked up on D, and obviously, he was dominant on the offensive side. Anytime he was in the game he’d take on their best player and shut them down the whole 48 minutes. That was one of the more impressive things from his entire career. And then when he ruptured his achilles [in 2016] and went to the foul line and made his shots. That’s tough.”