Kobe Bryant touched so many lives.
That included the legions of fans who never met him, but who saw now only his Hall of Fame performances on the court but also the drive and work ethic it took for him to reach those heights. Kobe inspired them to strive and work for what they wanted in their own lives.
He also touched the lives of many around the NBA, and as news of his death in a helicopter crash in Southern California Sunday spread, the reactions of shock and love for the man poured in from around the league.
In Toronto, where the Spurs and Raptors were tipping off, both teams took a 24-second violation to start the game — 24 for No. 24.
Remarkable moment to start the Raptors-Spurs game. pic.twitter.com/thmt9ZU1Ra
— Timothy Burke (@bubbaprog) January 26, 2020
Reactions poured in from every corner of the sports world.
Beyond devastated… my big brother… I can’t, I just can’t believe it
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) 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
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
Speechless on this plane ride home! A sad day bruh! RIP Kobe Bean Bryant! Prayers go to his family and loved ones 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 This doesn’t even feel real man..
— Jared Dudley (@JaredDudley619) January 26, 2020
All the Lessons
All the Advice
Every word you ever told me…
Will stick with me forever
Thank You Kobe🙏🏽❤️ pic.twitter.com/WPCdHg3iyt
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) January 26, 2020
— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) January 26, 2020
🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏 this is so sad! RIP💔💔💔 pic.twitter.com/5ykf0drVSG
— Luka Doncic (@luka7doncic) January 26, 2020
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) January 26, 2020
— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) January 26, 2020
Damn. RIP Mamba. May your memory be a blessing
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) January 26, 2020
To all of my friends, thank you. Each of you have shared part of yourself with me and made my life better. I have tried to do the same. If you were here I would hug you like I just hugged my family. It hurts that it takes a tragedy to remind us of our mortality.#hugyourfriends
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) January 26, 2020
Nooooooo cmon someone say it ain’t true… I’m sick to my stomach right now
— Jayson Tatum (@jaytatum0) January 26, 2020
On a personal note, I was fortunate to be a witness to some of Kobe Bryant’s biggest moments, from the 2010 NBA title through his injury and return, and his legendary final game.
However, that’s not how I will remember him.
The season he missed most of with a torn Achilles, he would sometimes come into the Laker locker room pregame (while it was open to the media) and just sit down, and sometimes talk — not on the record, if some unknowing reporter pulled out a digital recorder or a camera and it was over. The casual conversations were about nothing, or whatever was going on in the world, but a few times it turned to being a father of daughters — Kobe had four daughters, I am fortunate enough to have three, and numerous other reporters around the Lakers had multiple daughters (there must be something in the water at Staples Center). That’s the Kobe I remember, the one who cared and thought more deeply about his family than he did basketball — and we all know how he obsessed over the game. He was someone who loved his family with all his heart and, like dads everywhere, wasn’t always sure how to navigate through family life. As a group, the conversations would at times be about watching our daughters play sports and how we hoped that would help them grow to be confident, strong young women. He seemed able to inspire and pass along the confidence he had in himself to his daughters, and that was a tremendous gift to them.
Our thoughts are with your family and friends.