Calabasas, CA - Kobe Bryant, his 13 year-old daughter Gianna and 7 others died in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning while they were heading to a travel basketball game.
Bryant was 41 years old.
He is one of the all-time greats. He was a 5-time NBA champion and played 20 years in the league with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was the youngest all-star starter in NBA history.
The sports icon was an 18-time all-star, a four time all-star MVP and two-time finals MVP. He is one of 6 players to average 35 points per game in a season and scored 60 points in his final game in Staples Center. He also became an Academy Award winner in 2018 - the only in NBA history - for his short animated film called "Dear Basketball".
Just last night he passed the torch to Lebron James as James took his place as third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
Kobe received many accolades as a player but most importantly he was a husband, a father and a teacher to athletes everywhere.
Syracuse basketball head coach Jim Boeheim shared his thoughts on the tragedy saying:
“Kobe Bryant was not only one of the greatest basketball players ever, he was also the hardest working player I've ever been around. I was so fortunate to have known him and coached him with team USA. Our thoughts and our prayers are with his wife Vanessa, and the Bryant family."
Fans at the Utica College men’s hockey game reacted to the news.
“That really hurt me because he was a part of the reason why I would wake up in the morning and work out to be great by all means. I don’t play basketball, I run track but I can take his Mamba Mentality and put it towards what I do and use it to be great,” said Damoy Allen.
“His Mamba Mentality makes everybody play harder, makes everybody go 100% harder and everybody looks up to him and wants to play like him which makes the game more competitive,” added Fehmi Ahmeti
“It’s just sad. Childhood hero and embodied the game. Just a great guy and a great player,” said Zachary Ellis.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bryant family and the families of those involved in the crash.