(Reuters) - Kobe Bryant, who won five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, died aged 41 on Sunday in a helicopter crash in California. His 13-year-old daughter Gianna was also among the victims.
Following are reactions to his death:
ADAM SILVER, NBA COMMISSIONER
“The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.
“For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning. He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary: five NBA championships, an NBA MVP award, 18 NBA All-Star selections, and two Olympic gold medals.
“But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability. He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna.”
MICHAEL JORDAN, SIX-TIMES NBA CHAMPION
“I am in shock over the tragic news of Kobe’s and Gianna’s passing. 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 an amazing dad who loved his family deeply - and took great pride in his daughter’s love for the game of basketball.”
BARACK OBAMA, FORMER U.S. PRESIDENT, ON TWITTER
“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.”
SHAQUILLE O’NEAL, FORMER BRYANT TEAMMATE, ON TWITTER
“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.”
EARVIN MAGIC JOHNSON, FORMER LAKERS GREAT, ON TWITTER
“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.”
KAREEM ABDUL-JABAAR, FORMER LAKERS GREAT, ON TWITTER
“Most people will remember Kobe as the magnificent athlete who inspired a whole generation of basketball players. But I will always remember him as a man who was much more than an athlete.”
TIGER WOODS, FORMER WORLD NUMBER ONE GOLFER
“It’s unbelievably sad and the reality is sinking in because I was told about five minutes ago.
“He burned so competitively hot, the desire to win he brought every night on both ends of the floor, not too many guys can say that. Any time he was in the game he’d take on their best player.
“It’s a shocker to everyone, unbelievably sad, and one of the more tragic days.
STEVE NASH, BASKETBALL HALL OF FAMER, ON TWITTER
“My heart is broken for Kobe and his family. I’ll never forget the battles but what I really admired was the father he was to his girls. Rest In Peace old friend with your angel Gianna.”
“USA Basketball has lost a real champion. Women’s sports has lost one of their strongest advocates. Professional sports has lost a true legend who used his stature to make a difference in the world.”
WNBA COMMISSIONER CATHY ENGELBERT
“The WNBA mourns the sudden and tragic loss of NBA Great Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. Kobe’s support for the WNBA and women’s basketball along with his passion for helping young girls and boys follow their dreams made him a true legend for our sport.
MIKE KRZYZEWSKI, COACH OF 2008 and 2012 U.S. OLYMPIC TEAMS
“He was in constant pursuit of doing something special and there will never be a greater warrior in our sport.
“I will always remember how much he cherished representing his country in a first-class manner playing the game he so loved. The game of basketball is better today because of Kobe, and he deserves eternal appreciation for that.”
U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, ON TWITTER
“Reports are that basketball great Kobe Bryant and three others have been killed in a helicopter crash in California. That is terrible news!”
REVEREND JESSE JACKSON, ON TWITTER
“As I tweet through my tears, I am so hurt. I cannot stop crying. Kobe was instrumental to so many people. There is a hole in the basketball world and will be for a long time. Rest in heavenly peace. #KobeBryant”
PAU GASOL, FORMER BRYANT TEAMMATE, ON TWITTER
“Beyond devastated... my big brother... I can’t, I just can’t believe it.”
TED LEONSIS, OWNER OF NBA’S WASHINGTON WIZARDS, ON LINKEDIN
“We have not only lost one of the greatest all-time basketball players in NBA history, we’ve also lost a tremendous human being ... His legacy will continue to live on through the many people he touched and influenced throughout his life of basketball and beyond. May he rest in peace.”
DWYANE WADE, THREE-TIMES NBA CHAMPION, ON TWITTER
“Nooooooooooo God please No!
NATIONAL BASKETBALL PLAYERS ASSOCIATION
“We are stunned and devastated by the news of the sudden passing of Kobe Bryant. Words cannot express his impact on our Players, the NBA and the game of basketball. 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.”
WAYNE GRETZKY, NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE GREAT, ON TWITTER
“Janet and I have no words to describe our shock and sadness on the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant today. Praying for him and his family.”
CRISTIANO RONALDO, PORTUGUESE SOCCER GREAT, ON INSTAGRAM
“So sad to hear the heartbreaking news of the deaths of Kobe and his daughter Gianna. Kobe was a true legend and inspiration to so many. Sending my condolences to his family and friends and the families of all who lost their lives in the crash. RIP Legend.”
KANYE WEST, GRAMMY AWARD-WINNING ARTIST, ON TWITTER
“Kobe, We love you brother We’re praying for your family and appreciate the life you’ve lived and all the inspiration you gave.”
HALLE BERRY, OSCAR-WINNING ACTRESS, ON TWITTER
“There are no real words to convey the depth of my sadness. Love and strength to Kobe’s entire family and to the families of all who were lost in today’s crash.”
JUSTIN BIEBER, CANADIAN POP SUPERSTAR, ON INSTAGRAM
“It can’t be. You always encouraged me mamba. Gave me me some of the best quotes that we smile about to this day.! Love you man!”
Reporting by Frank Pingue in Toronto, Rory Carroll in Los Angeles, Amy Tennery in New York, Pritha Sarkar in London, Gene Cherry in Salvo, North Carolina, and Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Daniel Wallis and Marguerita Choy
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