Kobe Bryant, killed in a helicopter crash at 41: Sporting stars react to the legend's death
A true icon
It's been an eventful Chinese New Year — in the midst of feasting and gambling, we've been lamenting two main topics of conversation: the deadly Wuhan virus and Kobe Bryant's sudden passing. Whether basketball fans or not, the sporting legend's death, alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna and seven others, in a helicopter crash over Calabasas, California has left us reeling. Bryant was a loving father and caring friend, who also used his talent and time to inspire young girls and boys to follow their dreams. As news broke early yesterday morning, sporting stars started paying tributes to a man who made an eternal difference in their world. Rest in peace, Kobe — we're even more so grateful for your life.
1. Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka, whom Bryant mentored after he became "addicted" to the sport in 2016, called the ex Los Angeles Lakers player her big brother, mentor, and inspiration.
2. NBA legend Michael Jordan released a statement remembering Bryant as a great competitor and brilliant creative force.
3. One of the greatest basketball players of all time, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, posted a series of tweets which honoured Bryant as a mentor to younger players, and a man who was passionate about serving the homeless.
4. NBA analyst and former basketball player Shaquille O'Neal, whose youngest daughter was born on the same day as Gianna, acknowledged Bryant as a family man.
5. 16-time tennis Grand Slam champion Novak Djokovic credits Bryant as an inspiration to the sporting world — especially when it came to competing and respecting sport.