Many within the Los Angeles Lakers organization took to social media after learning of the death of Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning.
Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among nine people killed just outside of Los Angeles. The news sent shockwaves through the sports world.
LeBron James in tears leaving the team plane
The night before the crash, LeBron James passed a historical milestone in his NBA career.
James passed Bryant for the third spot on the NBA’s all-time scoring list in the Lakers’ game against the 76ers in Philadelphia on Saturday night, surpassing Bryant’s 33,643 career points. He did it while paying tribute to Bryant on his shoes, writing “Mamba 4 Life” on the bottom.
Bryant congratulated him for the feat on Twitter, too.
Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother 💪🏾 #33644— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 26, 2020
James could be seen wiping away tears as he exited the team plane on Sunday:
LeBron is met with emotional hugs after landing in Los Angeles following the death of Kobe Bryant.— ESPN (@espn) January 26, 2020
(via NBC4 Los Angeles) pic.twitter.com/Fx9jt2qZVi
Magic Johnson’s Twitter tribute
Former Lakers player and ex-team president Magic Johnson shared a thread on Twitter to pay tribute to Bryant and his daughter on Sunday afternoon.
“As I try to write this post, my mind is racing,” Johnson said. “I’m in disbelief and have been crying all morning over this devastating news that Kobe and his young daughter, Gigi, have passed away in a helicopter crash. Cookie and I are heartbroken.
“I love him, his family and what he stood for on the court and off the court.”
As I try to write this post, my mind is racing. I’m in disbelief and have been crying all morning over this devastating news that Kobe and his young daughter, Gigi have passed away in a helicopter crash. Cookie and I are heartbroken. pic.twitter.com/X2vF0M0a1u— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 26, 2020
My friend, a legend, husband, father, son, brother, Oscar winner and greatest Laker of all-time is gone. It’s hard to accept. Kobe was a leader of our game, a mentor to both male and female players. pic.twitter.com/NXsrXmCkkG— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 26, 2020
He gave his knowledge, time, and talent to tutor so many at the youth level, collegiate level, & NBA & WNBA players. Words can’t express the impact that he had on the game of basketball. I know basketball fans all over the world will miss him, especially the City of Los Angeles. pic.twitter.com/ZoB3Uwbvzk— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 26, 2020
“He was such an icon but also did so much for LA,” Johnson added. “He was passionate about serving the homeless and was an advocate for women’s basketball. Coaching his daughter’s basketball team brought him so much happiness.”
Kobe and I shared so many special conversations about life and basketball. We had so much in common off the court. I used to love talking to him about Lakers basketball, being fathers and husbands and how much we loved Italy. I will miss those conversations and him so much. pic.twitter.com/PIv7obzr2x— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 26, 2020
Laker Nation, the game of basketball & our city, will never be the same without Kobe. Cookie & I are praying for Vanessa, his beautiful daughters Natalia, Bianka & Capri, as well as his parents Joe & Pam & his sisters. We will always be here for the Bryant family. pic.twitter.com/WWxmtEAJqZ— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 26, 2020
We love you forever. #8 #24🙏🏾❤️— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 26, 2020
Jerry West: Bryant ‘left the world a better place’
NBA Hall of Famer, longtime Lakers star and former general manager Jerry West released a statement on Sunday afternoon mourning the loss of Bryant.
West was the general manager of the Lakers in 1996 and facilitated the deal that got Bryant to Los Angeles.
“The news we’ve all received today is the most devastating news that anyone can imagine,” West said, via The Athletic’s Jovan Buha. “I am so saddened for Kobe’s parents, Vanessa, Natalia, Bianka, Capri, Kobe’s sisters and all of the NBA fans that hold Kobe in their hearts.
“This loss of Kobe, Gianna, and everyone on board is beyond tragic and incomprehensible. I will love Kobe forever and always cherish the time that I spent with him. I watched him grow from an energetic kid into the man he became, making a difference in so many people’s [lives]. He has left the world a better place. Kobe’s legacy will live forever.”
Kyle Kuzma reflects on his idol
Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma later posted a tribute on Instagram to Kobe, describing how much he idolized Bryant when he was growing up.
“You became family and a mentor to me ... Kobe thank you for being a brother to me. Anything I ever needed from you, was just a call away.”
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