The loss of Kobe Bryant is being felt worldwide. Kobe’s family, friends, fans and peers are mourning the tragic loss of a legend, who was a paramount figure in the NBA having earned five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers and was named the NBA MVP in 2008 and NBA Finals MVP in 2009 and 2010. A number of legendary NBA player have memorialized Kobe, who was once their student in the game.
According to the New York Post, NBA legend and owner of the Charlotte Hornets, Michael Jordan released a statement to his “little brother.” “I am in shock over the tragic news of Kobe’s and Gianna’s passing,” he said. “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 the conversations very much. He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force.”
Jordan added, “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. [Jordan’s wife] Yvette joins me in sending my deepest condolences to Vanessa, the Lakers organization and basketball fans around the world.”
Ervin “Magic” Johnson, former Laker and former president of basketball operations for the franchise, tweeted, “Kobe and I shared so many special conversations about life and basketball. We had so much in common off the court. I used to love talking to him about Lakers basketball, being fathers and husbands and how much we loved Italy. I will miss those conversations and him so much.”
Shaquille O’Neal, Bryant’s longtime teammate with whom he won several NBA championships, said, “There’s no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of losing my niece 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.”
Former Boston Celtic, Bill Russell, also paid tribute to the late Kobe Bryant. “Jeannine & I are absolutely shocked to hear of the loss of one of my favorite people & one of the best basketball minds in the history of the game! Our hearts & prayers to Vanessa & his girls. @kobebryant you were my biggest fan, but I was yours #RIPMAMBA.”
NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, also released a statement:
Check out the tributes other NBA legends gave to Kobe Bryant below.