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Basketball Legend Kobe Bryant, 13-Year-Old Daughter Die in Tragic Helicopter Crash that Kills Nine Total

Elika Roohi

Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was killed in a tragic helicopter crash on Sunday in Calabasa, California. The helicopter was carrying seven other passengers, including Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and the pilot. Everyone on board was killed in the crash.

Kobe Bryant, largely considered to be one of the greatest players in NBA history, played for the Los Angeles Lakers for 20 seasons. Over the course of his storied career, he led the Lakers to five championships, was an 18-time All-Star and was the NBA’s MVP in 2007-08.

On the eve of his death, LeBron James broke Bryant’s scoring record for the Lakers. Bryant celebrated James’ success with a tweet—the last he would ever send—saying, “Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother #33644”.

As the news broke on Sunday, tributes poured in from celebrities and well known faces around the world.

Grammys pay respects to Kobe Bryant

“Tonight is for you Kobe,” said Lizzo, offering the first tribute to Bryant at the Grammys, which took place on Sunday at the Staples Center, where Kobe Bryant played his entire career with the LA Lakers. News of Bryant’s death mere hours before the Grammys began.

“We’re literally standing here, heartbroken, in the house that Kobe Bryant built,” said Alicia Keys, who was hosting the ceremony.

Presidents offer their condolences

Barack Obama wrote 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.”

Current President Donald Trump offered words of comfort as well, writing: “Kobe Bryant, despite being one of the truly great basketball players of all time, was just getting started in life. He loved his family so much, and had such strong passion for the future. The loss of his beautiful daughter, Gianna, makes this moment even more devastating.”

Players praise Kobe Bryant’s legacy

“There’s no words to express the pain I’m going through with this tragedy of losing my niece Gigi & my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie,” said Shaquille O’Neal, who won three NBA titles alongside Bryant for the LA Lakers. “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. I’m sick right now.”

The NBA’s all-time leading scorer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who played for the Lakers from 1975-1989, said: “It’s very difficult for me to put in words how I feel. Kobe was an incredible family man, he loved his wife and daughters, he was an incredible athlete, he inspired a whole generation. This loss is hard to comprehend.”

Six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan added: “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.”

LeBron James offered a moving tribute on Monday, after digesting the tragic news, saying: “I’m Not Ready but here I go. Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had! I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn’t think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we’d have.”

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