Kobe Bryant Helicopter Crash: Athletes, Celebs Respond

January 26, 2020 - 2:50 pm

The world was shocked by the reported tragic death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna along with seven others in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday.

Bryant was a ubiquitous figure in the sports and pop culture lexicon from the mid-1990s throughout the first decade of the 21st Century, reflected in the breadth of responses pouring in throughout the day from around sports, entertainment, media, and politics.

President Trump and former President Obama spoke out with remarks that were very on-brand:

Reports are that basketball great Kobe Bryant and three others have been killed in a helicopter crash in California. That is terrible news!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2020

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

Current and former Lakers players were among the many who paid tribute to the franchise icon, while LeBron James was apparently devastated upon learning the tragic news after his flight landed:

LeBron James in tears as he exits the Los Angeles Lakers team plane following the news of Kobe Bryant's death. James passed Kobe for 3rd on the all-time scoring list yesterday. pic.twitter.com/4gUYmRjUqI

— 12 SPORTS (@12SportsAZ) January 26, 2020

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 pic.twitter.com/pigHywq3c1

— SHAQ (@SHAQ) January 26, 2020

As I try to write this post, my mind is racing. 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. pic.twitter.com/X2vF0M0a1u

— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 26, 2020

Most people will remember Kobe as the magnificent athlete who inspired a whole generation of basketball players. But I will always remember him as a man who was much more than an athlete. pic.twitter.com/9EZuwk8wrV

— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) January 26, 2020

My whole day stopped, One of my favorite players. RIP TO THE GOAT KOBE BRYANT

— Lance Stephenson (@StephensonLance) January 26, 2020

Beyond devastated... my big brother... I can’t, I just can’t believe it

— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) January 26, 2020

Others in the NBA community relayed their grief, including Commissioner Adam Silver and league icons Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen:

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued the following statement today regarding the passing of Kobe Bryant pic.twitter.com/P88GwIwmYV

— NBA (@NBA) January 26, 2020

A statement from Michael Jordan regarding Kobe Bryant's death. pic.twitter.com/8fNZcQQ3pF

— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) January 26, 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

Head coaches Doc Rivers of the Clippers and Lloyd Pierce of the Hawks were overcome with emotion:

“He had that DNA that very few athletes can ever have.”

Doc Rivers on Kobe Bryant. pic.twitter.com/kSS7sjKaI1

— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 26, 2020

#Hawks HC Lloyd Pierce comes in, is very quiet for a while. Apologizes for getting emotional. Discusses a personal family tragedy involving a helicopter crash and the legacy and impact #KobeBryant had on every single person. @NBA #11Alive @11AliveSports pic.twitter.com/Uwybicpbm1

— Maria Martin (@Ria_Martin) January 26, 2020

New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft reacted to Bryant's death on Sunday before the GRAMMYs, while Saints quarterback Drew Brees weighed in from the sidelines of the Pro Bowl in a surreal television moment, and Tiger Woods did so from the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego:

"He inspired so many people,"

Drew Brees on Kobe Bryant pic.twitter.com/OYnKAAyS0S

— New Orleans Saints (@Saints) January 26, 2020

Tiger Woods reflects on the tragic passing of NBA legend Kobe Bryant. pic.twitter.com/t4F2Sqj57Z

— PGA TOUR (@PGATOUR) January 26, 2020

Stars from other sports offered condolences:

Prayers and blessing to the @kobebryant family. Such a devastating time right now. A great friend, mentor to all,positive role model and teacher of the game. Words can’t express my feeling for him as a person, father and player. It hurts. RIP Black Mamba pic.twitter.com/qDCB5BObv7

— Donovan McNabb (@donovanjmcnabb) January 26, 2020

Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of @kobebryant, as well as to the entire Lakers family. This is a horrible tragedy. Kobe was one of the best to ever play the game of basketball. May he Rest In Peace.

— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) January 26, 2020

Heart going out to the Bryant family right now. ❤️. RIP @kobebryant

— Megan Rapinoe (@mPinoe) January 26, 2020

Media figures and celebrities responded, further underscoring the NBA legend’s impact beyond the court:

Kobe, We love you brother

We’re praying for your family and appreciate the life you’ve lived and all the inspiration you gave pic.twitter.com/pxbgLOOmpY

— ye (@kanyewest) January 26, 2020

The world lost a giant today
Rest In Peace Kobe Bryant. Also praying for the other passengers that we lost and their families.

— Pharrell Williams (@Pharrell) January 26, 2020

When we started sportscenter from Los Angeles, the first person to appear on the show, even before the anchors, was Kobe Bryant, welcoming us to LA. As it should have been. The entire city is in shock. I feel awful for all of the families affected. ----

— stan verrett (@stanverrett) January 26, 2020

Watching the news reports & my heart is so torn like many of the fans that r devastated over the news of the tragedy involving @kobebryant HEARTBREAKING !

— Dick Vitale (@DickieV) January 26, 2020
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