Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna were among the nine people who died in a helicopter crash in southern California on Sunday morning. The former NBA superstar was 41 and his daughter was only 13 years old.
Bryant was a once-in-a-generation talent who spent 20 years in the NBA, which he entered after graduating from Lower Marion High School in the Philadelphia suburbs.
Tributes to Bryant came quickly from fans and players alike.
Just hours after the tragic news hit of Bryant’s death, the Toronto Raptors and the San Antonio Spurs each intentionally incurred a shot-clock violation of exactly 24 seconds, a nod to the number Bryant wore for the majority of his career.
Remarkable moment to start the Raptors-Spurs game. pic.twitter.com/thmt9ZU1Ra
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 26, 2020
Former teammate Shaquille O’Neil has said he is “sick” over the shock and grief of losing his teammate and good friend of many years.
View this post on Instagram
There are no words to express the pain I’m going through now with this tragic and sad moment of loosing my neice Gigi & my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you and you will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW !
Fellow Lakers legend Magic Johnson said his “mind is racing,” and that he is in disbelief at the news.
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
Former President Barack Obama, golf legend Jack Nicklaus, and quarterback Colin Kapernick were among those from outside the world of basketball who paid their respects, a testament to Bryant’s broader influence.
Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 26, 2020
Love basketball. Even bigger fan of excellence. @kobebryant embodied excellence. Legendary talent; inspirational athlete; great role model; American icon loved globally. Sports lost a tremendous friend but don’t have to be sports fan for your heart to hurt. Just have to be human!
— Jack Nicklaus (@jacknicklaus) January 27, 2020
I will remember Kobe as a basketball legend,a father& a man. Watching him&Gigi share their relationship with us is something I won’t ever forget. My heart aches for his wife, children& family. I hope the waves of love being sent to his family can ease some of the pain they feel.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) January 27, 2020
At the Grammys, which were coincidentally being held at the Staples Center—where Bryant played his home games—Lizzo opened the show by telling the audience “Tonight is for Kobe.” Hers was the first of several Bryant remembrances seen that took place during the show.
— MTV (@MTV) January 27, 2020
There were also plenty of tributes to John Altobelli, the longtime coach of the Orange Coast College baseball team, who was in the helicopter along with his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa.
It is with the heaviest of hearts that we announce the passing of Orange Coast College head baseball coach John Altobelli. He was a coach, a colleague, a mentor and a friend at OCC for 27 years.
— Orange Coast College (@orangecoast) January 26, 2020
The others on board were pilot Ara Zobayan, Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton, and Christina Mauser, a girls basketball coach in Orange County.
The crash is currently under investigation, so for now all we can do is send our best to the families and hope some clarity emerges. For families everywhere, this is awful news.
This story is developing.