As the world learns of the sudden passing of Kobe Bryant, one of the sporting world’s all-time greats, tributes and honours have poured in on social media with friends and fans alike remembering the LA Lakers legend for his impact on the sport and their lives.
As fans gather around the Staples Center in Los Angeles to lay flowers and mourn the loss of the 41-year-old five-time NBA champion, others have shared their memories of Kobe online.
From hip-hop stars who had posters of him on their walls, to the former President of the United States, to fellow NBA greats, and those who reflexively called “Kobe!” when shooting hoops and trick shots.
Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant’s other half in what’s seen as one the Lakers’ most powerful duos, has also taken to Twitter to mourn the death of his former teammate and close friend.
There’s no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of loosing my neice 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 pic.twitter.com/pigHywq3c1— SHAQ (@SHAQ) January 26, 2020
Kobe was so much more than an athlete, 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. pic.twitter.com/BHBPN5Wq8V— SHAQ (@SHAQ) January 26, 2020
Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna ‘Gigi’ Bryant were two of the nine people onboard a helicopter that crashed in the Calabasas area on January 26, with none of the other victims identified at the time of writing.
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
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
Official Statement from Michael Jordan on the passing of Kobe Bryant. pic.twitter.com/EEVmGLRHyj— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) January 26, 2020
Gianna and Kobe Rest with the Highest of Angels in Power & Peace ???????????????? ???????? pic.twitter.com/6n9uZqXKxP— Naomi Campbell (@NaomiCampbell) January 26, 2020
Today we mourn the loss of our friend Kobe Bryant. Sending our thoughts and prayers to the Bryant family. ♥️ pic.twitter.com/fwT4yj7Ud7— Sesame Street (@sesamestreet) January 26, 2020
Kobe was truly larger than life, a legend. May he and all those who lost their lives today rest in peace. Love and condolences to his family. LA will never be the same.— Leonardo DiCaprio (@LeoDiCaprio) January 26, 2020
Kobe and Gigi???? This is incredibly difficult to process. I will never forget your generosity, and the time you set aside in some of my most difficult moments. I am forever grateful. My heart is with you and your beautiful family. pic.twitter.com/rnGI8o1p5L— Maria Sharapova (@MariaSharapova) January 26, 2020
Kobe was an icon on the court, a legend for the way he gave back to his community, and an inspiration to the world. I consider myself lucky to have witnessed both his talent and his big heart. My thoughts are with the Bryant family on this unthinkable day. https://t.co/Q76ZVWYD7D— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) January 26, 2020
Was lucky enough to meet Kobe twice. Once on the set of a Nike ad I did with him. The second on the night he won an Oscars. In the short time I spent with him he was kind, generous, funny & also a bit of a film nerd. My heart goes out to his family with this tragic news. Too sad. pic.twitter.com/Q9p01MIAmf— edgarwright (@edgarwright) January 26, 2020
My heart is in pieces hearing the news of this unimaginable tragedy. I can’t fathom what the families are going through. Kobe meant so much to me and to us all. Sending my prayers, love, and endless condolences to Vanessa and the family and anyone who lost someone on that flight.— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) January 26, 2020
Kobe, We love you brother— ye (@kanyewest) January 26, 2020
We’re praying for your family and appreciate the life you’ve lived and all the inspiration you gave pic.twitter.com/pxbgLOOmpY
He was great,charismatic & among the hardest-working athletes ever,but what impressed me most was how deeply-involved Kobe was with his 4 daughters. Pray for them, Vanessa, his parents & his fellow passengers' families on this sad and shocking day. We will never forget you Kobe— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) January 26, 2020
Kobe was a real life super hero on that court & I’m sure he was one to his family. Sending love and prayers to them. This is heartbreaking.— Bruno Mars (@BrunoMars) January 26, 2020
I'm so sad and stunned right now. In Staples Arena, where Kobe created so many memories for all of us, preparing to pay tribute to another brilliant man we lost too soon, Nipsey Hussle. Life can be so brutal and senseless sometimes. Hold on to your loved ones. We miss you, Kobe— John Legend (@johnlegend) January 26, 2020
Kobe Bryant played for 20 years with the LA Lakers between 1996 and 2016, and was slated to be inducted into the NBA Hall Of Fame in 2020. His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was also a keen basketball player and was hoping to play college basketball for the University of Connecticut.