The news of Sunday morning's helicopter crash that took the life of NBA great, Kobe Bryant, has shaken the world. As former teammates and coaches, friends and fans memorialize the life and achievements of Bryant, the stories of who he was off the court are resonating deeply within every community.
Kobe and his daughter Gigi, his protegé, both passed away in the tragic crash, along with seven others on board. The victims include John Altobelli, a head baseball coach at Orange Coast College, his wife, Keri, and 13-year-old daughter, Alyssa, who was Gigi's teammate. Also on board, Christina Mauser, the assistant coach for the Mamba Academy basketball team, Sarah Chester and her daughter, Payton, also a basketball player, along with the helicopter's pilot, Ara Zobayan.
Stars around the league shared their memories and condolences and expressed their heartbreak over the legend's passing.
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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. WTF!! I’m heartbroken and devastated my brother!! 😢😢😢😢💔. Man I love you big bro. My heart goes to Vanessa and the kids. I promise you I’ll continue your legacy man! You mean so much to us all here especially #LakerNation💜💛 and it’s my responsibility to put this shit on my back and keep it going!! Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me! I got US here! There’s so much more I want to say but just can’t right now because I can’t get through it! Until we meet again my brother!! #Mamba4Life❤️🙏🏾 #Gigi4Life❤️🙏🏾
Ironically, the night before his passing, Kobe took to social media to honor Lebron James for passing him on the NBA's career scoring list.
Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother 💪🏾 #33644— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 26, 2020
Bryant had a legendary NBA career and is considered one of the greatest basketball players of all time. He was referred to often by his self-given nickname "The Black Mamba" and was among the highest-paid NBA players ever. He retired in 2016 after spending the entirety of his 20-season career with the Lakers, a feat no other player has touched.
What Bryant was most excited about after his own days on the court were over was getting to raise his four daughters. He frequently spoke about them and their achievements and raved about being a "girl dad" through and through.
While the world has lost a legend, a number of families mourn the passing of their husbands, wives, daughters, sisters, brothers, fathers, mothers, cousins, and friends from this tragic accident. May they all rest peacefully.