The sudden death of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant left the sports world in stunned disbelief on Sunday. Bryant and multiple others were killed when the helicopter they were traveling in crashed into a Calabasas, California hillside on Sunday morning, according to multiple reports.
The crash caused a brushfire that made it difficult for first responders to get to the site of the accident.
Bryant, 41, retired from basketball after the 2016 season, his 20th in the NBA -- all spent with the Lakers. The organization retired both of the jersey numbers he wore (No. 8 and No. 24) in a ceremony back in 2017, and his presence was still constantly felt around basketball.
In fact, Bryant was discussed at length by LeBron James on Saturday night after James passed the former Lakers legend for third on the NBA's all-time scoring list.
This is from last night from @KingJames about Kobe Bryant, just unbelievable. pic.twitter.com/xa1L61yIOY— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) January 26, 2020
After the news broke on Sunday, countless figures around basketball and the rest of the sports world took to social media to process and react to Bryant's death. Most expressed a sense of complete shock. Others sent prayers to Bryant's family.
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
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 @espn @SLAMonline pic.twitter.com/Ll0BD6VWgr— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) January 26, 2020
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued the following statement today regarding the passing of Kobe Bryant pic.twitter.com/P88GwIwmYV— NBA (@NBA) January 26, 2020
January 27, 2020
I’m stunned. Words can’t even come close to describing it. Just an incredibly sad and tragic day.— Scottie Pippen (@ScottiePippen) January 26, 2020
We met as teenagers. We followed similar paths. We went from high school to the pros and our baby girls grew up together. People don't know this, but he was my secret coach. He pushed me and motivated me, especially toward the end of my career when I needed him most.— Alex Rodriguez (@AROD) January 27, 2020
Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/k7505l2ot0— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) January 26, 2020
We miss you already Kobe ❤️❤️🙏🏼🙏🏼— Tom Brady (@TomBrady) January 26, 2020
I’m so heartbroken. cant believe...Blessed to have chance to meet you. RIP Legend. 🙏🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/TlpRZdVpu7— Alex Ovechkin (@ovi8) January 26, 2020
We can never forget how precious life is. How those who are special to you and never let them forget how deeply you love them— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) January 26, 2020
Man I don’t even know where to start😭😭 I started playing ball because of KOBE after watching the 2010 finals. I had never watched ball before that and that finals was the turning point of my life. I WANTED TO BE LIKE KOBE. I’m so FREAKING SAD right now!!!!— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) January 26, 2020
Shortly after news of Bryant's death broke, the Rockets and Nuggets took to the floor for an afternoon matinee in Denver, where it was clear that many of the players were still grieving and attempting to process the loss.
Nuggets hold extended moment of silence for Kobe Bryant.— Mike Singer (@msinger) January 26, 2020
Spontaneously, a “Ko-be” chant breaks out. pic.twitter.com/Rw9gLmfO9L
Tyson Chandler ❤️ pic.twitter.com/66yvY6IoNv— Lakers Empire (@LakersEmpire) January 26, 2020
P.J. Tucker wearing Kobe’s today with a written message pic.twitter.com/TkXJE2rDUG— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) January 26, 2020