February 22, 2020

‘Terrible,’ ‘heartbreaking,’ ‘devastated’ — World leaders and athletes mourn the death of Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers plays defense against the Portland Trail Blazers on March 16, 2007 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.

Noah Graham | NBAE | Getty Images

The world mourned the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna on Sunday, with everyone from athletes to world leaders expressing grief and condolences on social media.

Bryant, 41, and Gianna, 13, perished in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Los Angeles on Sunday morning. Gianna’s teammate, the teammate’s parent and the pilot also died in the crash.

Bryant played with the Los Angeles Lakers for 20 years, winning five NBA championships. He was an 18-time NBA All-Star and ranked fourth on the league’s all-time scoring list.

President Donald Trump reacted on Twitter, calling the news “terrible.” Former President Barack Obama said the loss of Bryant and his daughter was “heartbreaking.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Bryant’s death a tragedy, saying it was a sad day for sports lovers around the world.

Shaquille O’Neal, who played center for the Los Angeles Lakers, said there are “no words” to express the loss of Bryant and Gianna, and expressed condolences to the families of the other passengers on board.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, a Hall of Fame center and former Laker, said he would remember Bryant “as a man who was much more than an athlete.” Scottie Pippen, former Chicago Bulls’ forward, said he was stunned: “Just an incredibly sad and tragic day,” the basketball legend wrote on Twitter.

Magic Johnson, a former point guard for the Lakers and a 12-time All-Star, said it was “hard to accept” the loss of the “greatest Laker of all-time.”

The National Basketball Players Association said its members were “stunned and devastated” by Bryant’s sudden passing.

“Words cannot express his impact on our Players, the NBA and the game of basketball,” the NBPA said. “This is a monumental loss for the entire basketball community and our hearts are quite simply broken. We send love and prayers out to his wife Vanessa and the entire family.”

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