The world stood still Sunday when the news for NBA legend Kobe Bryant’s sudden and tragic death.Bryant died at the age of 41 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, along with his 13-year old daughter, TMZ reports.
Nine people were killed in the crash the morning of Sunday, January 26, including Bryant and his daughter, Gianna Maria Onore. The cause of the crash is under investigation.
Reactions from fans, athletes and celebrities began pouring in immediately, with most people in a shocked state of sadness and disbelief. NBA legend Michael Jordan added his name to the ever-growing list of tributes to Bryant when he shared a touching statement through his manager, Estee Portnoy.
Michael Jordan on Kobe Bryant: ‘He Was Like a Brother To Me’
Portnoy released Jordan’s statement on her social media account. “I am in shock over the tragic news of Kobe’s and Gianna’s passing,” Jordan’s statement began. “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. He was a fierce competitor, one of the great 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.”
NBA superstar and former teammate of Bryant’s, Shaquille O’neal, also paid tribute to his friend. “Kobe was so much more than an athlete,” Shaq wrote. “He was a family man. That was what we had most in common. I would hug his children like they were my own and he would embrace my kids like they were his. His baby girl Gigi was born on the same day as my youngest daughter Me’Arah,” Shaq said.
Bryant won five world championships with the Los Angeles Lakers in his 20 seasons with the team. He scored 33,643 points in 1,346 games, averaging 25 points a game over his hugely successful career.