LeBron James, 35, was seen in tears after he exited the Los Angeles Lakers plane following the news of Kobe Bryant’s death on Sunday, January 26. He was comforted by two other individuals who held him tightly amid his immense pain. Kobe congratulated LeBron on passing him on the NBA’s all-time scoring leaderboard one day before he died on Saturday, January 25, tweeting, “Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother.” Another one of Kobe’s teammates Shaquille O’Neal, 47, penned his own touching tribute to his late friend. “There’s no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of losing my niece 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.”
Shockwaves were felt throughout the world when the devastating news of Kobe’s passing hit on Sunday, January 26. The NBA legend was killed at the age of 41 after a helicopter he was in crashed in the town of Calabasas, California earlier that morning. He was traveling with eight other people on the private chopper, one of which was his daughter Gianna Maria Onore, 13 (who also died) when it went down and a fire broke out. His wife Vanessa Bryant, 37, was reportedly not on board at the time of the crash. The cause is still under investigation.
Other sports stars who poured their heart out in the wake of Kobe passing included past and present NBA players like Dwyane Wade, CJ McCollum, Paul Pierce, Kevin Lowe, Scottie Pippen and Jeremy Lin, all of whom were left in complete disbelief over the tragic news. “Please no. Please god no. It can’t be true,” Kevin tweeted while Dwyane issued a similar sentiment by writing, “Nooooooooooo God please No!”
"The desire to win. He brought it each and every night."
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 27, 2020
Tiger Woods, a lifelong lakers fan, admitted that he didn’t know why people were saying “do it for Mamba” on the last few holes of a tournament he was participating in when the news of his death broke. In the above clip, he told a sports reporter what he will remember most about the late NBA legend.
“I am in shock over the tragic news of Kobe’s and Gianna’s passing,” Michael Jordan said in a statement. “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 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 [Prieto, his wife] joins me in sending my deepest condolences to Vanessa, the Lakers organization and basketball fans around the world.”
His death was felt throughout the sports world outside of basketball as other greats like Tom Brady, Deion Sanders, Jamal Crawford and Robert Griffin III talked about the pain they were in when they heard the news about his death. “Hurting like the rest of the world right now but not as much as Kobe’s Family,” the Baltimore Raves quarterback tweeted. “Everybody keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”