Kobe Bryant, the legendary NBA player and Oscar-winning storyteller, died in a helicopter crash Sunday morning in Calabasas, Calif., along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, prompting a wave of tributes from stars of the sports and entertainment worlds, and beyond.
Former teammate Pau Gasol, who won two NBA championships with Bryant on the Los Angeles Lakers and also battled him in two Olympic gold medal matches, tweeted, “Beyond devastated… my big brother… I can’t, I just can’t believe it.”
Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel, who frequently welcomed Bryant on his show, wrote, “He was great, charismatic & among the hardest-working athletes ever, but what impressed me most was how deeply-involved Kobe was with his 4 daughters. Pray for them, Vanessa, his parents & his fellow passengers’ families on this sad and shocking day. We will never forget you Kobe.”
Derek Jeter wrote a moving tribute to Bryant on The Player’s Tribune, writing, “Here was this guy who was beyond gifted as an athlete, who was obsessed with being a champion, who was known as an absolute assassin with a ball in his hands. And in the moments I got to spend with him? He didn’t really talk about any of that. He cared much more about being a husband to Vanessa and a dad to his girls. He loved his family — he was his family. That’s what was important.”
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