Michael Jordan Pays Tribute To His ‘Little Brother’ Kobe Bryant
Michael Jordan has paid tribute to Kobe Bryant in the wake of his passing, describing him as ‘like a little brother’.
Bryant, 41, and his daughter Gianna, 13, were among nine people who died yesterday, January 26, when the helicopter they were travelling in crashed near Calabasas, California.
The retired NBA star was a legend in the world of basketball, with Gianna following in his footsteps, and their untimely passing has led many of the biggest names in sports to pay tribute to the two.
Michael Jordan, who is widely regarded as the greatest basketball player of all time, led those tributes, describing Kobe as ‘one of the greats of the game and a creative force’.
I am in shock over the tragic news of Kobe’s and Gianna’s passing. 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 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.
Yvette joins me in sending my deepest condolences to Vanessa, the Lakers organisation and basketball fans around the world.
Another basketball legend quick to pay tribute was Bryant’s former Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal, who described the loss as a ‘tragedy’.
He tweeted, alongside four pictures of the two:
There’s no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of loosing my neice 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 [sic]
Others from across the worlds of sport, entertainment, politics, soon began to express their disbelief, reflecting on Kobe’s influence on the game.
Former Lakers player and ex-team president Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson shared a thread on Twitter to pay tribute to Bryant and his daughter on Sunday afternoon.
‘As I try to write this post, my mind is racing,’ he wrote in his first tweet. ‘I’m in disbelief and have been crying all morning over this devastating news that Kobe and his young daughter, Gigi have passed away in a helicopter crash. Cookie and I are heartbroken.’
My friend, a legend, husband, father, son, brother, Oscar winner and greatest Laker of all-time is gone. It’s hard to accept. Kobe was a leader of our game, a mentor to both male and female players…
He was such an icon but also did so much for LA. He was passionate about serving the homeless and was an advocate for women’s basketball. Coaching his daughter’s basketball team brought him so much happiness…
We love you forever. #8 #24
Former president Barack Obama described Kobe as a ‘legend’ on the court, saying he was ‘just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act’.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said nine people were on the helicopter when it crashed, a pilot and eight passengers. He would not confirm who had died until all the next of kin had been notified.
Bryant and Gianna were reportedly on the way to one of her basketball practices when the accident happened, along with Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his daughter Alyssa Altobelli and wife Keri Altobelli.
The helicopter departed from John Wayne Airport just after 9am on Sunday, with the crash happening shortly before 10am in Calabasas.
Kobe and Gianna are survived by his wife, Vanessa, and their three other daughters, Natalia, Bianca and Capri.
Our thoughts are with the Bryant family and the loved ones of all those who died at this difficult time.
Rest in peace.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.