Memorials and messages swarmed social media after news broke that NBA legend Kobe Bryant had died on Sunday in a helicopter crash.
A call for a downed helicopter in Calabasas went out at 10:01 a.m. local time, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. The city of Calabasas later confirmed the former Laker and his daughter Gianna were among the five dead in the crash.
On Twitter, current and former NBA players shared their disbelief in learning that Bryant had died.
Former NBA superstar and Bryant’s former Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal posted to Instagram to say he was sick over the news.
“There’s no words to express the pain I’m going through now with this tragic and sad moment of loosing my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you brother and you will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board,” O’Neal wrote.
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There are no words to express the pain I’m going through now with this tragic and sad moment of loosing my neice Gigi & my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you and you will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW !
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Kobe was so much more than an athlete, he was a family man. That was what we had most in common. We love our families. Whenever we got together I would hug his children like they were my own and he would embrace my kids like they were his. His baby girl Gianna was born on the same day as my youngest daughter Me’Arah. I miss you already brother. This is truly unbelievable. Everyone please keep the Bryant’s in your prayers. R.I.P
NBA legend and former Lakers player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tweeted a video saying it was hard for him to put into words what he felt upon hearing of Bryant’s death.
“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,” Abdul-Jabbar’s tweet read.
Former Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade tweeted, “Nooooooooooo God please No!”
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
Nooooooooooo God please No!
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) January 26, 2020
this one hurt …
— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) January 26, 2020
Please God don’t let this be real!! https://t.co/cOXyAehJgU
— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) 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
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
NBPA Statement on the passing of Kobe Bryant pic.twitter.com/iWDBcV7c2N
— NBPA (@TheNBPA) January 26, 2020
Current Heat guard Tyler Herro tweeted that all teams should retire the number 24, the number with which Bryant closed his Los Angeles Lakers career.
NBA player Jamal Crawford wrote, “No f——- way… no way, no way…….. No way……… No way……no way…… I love you Kobe…”
Temetrius Jamel “Ja” Morant, who plays for the Memphis Grizzlies, tweeted “no way,” and later followed that tweet up saying, “This one hurt.”
Utah Jazz player Donovan Mitchell tweeted, saying he hoped the news was wrong.
“Please God don’t let this be real!!” Mitchell wrote.
Boston Celtics player Jayson Tatum tweeted that the news had made him feel ill.
“Nooooooo cmon someone say it ain’t true… I’m sick to my stomach right now,” Tatum wrote.
Atlanta Hawks player Trae Young wrote a tribute to Bryant, thanking him for his guidance.
“All the Lessons All the Advice Every word you ever told me… Will stick with me forever Thank You Kobe,” he wrote.
New Orleans Pelicans player Josh Hart sent a tweet using a hashtag of Bryant’s nickname, “Mamba.”
“Rip to a legend man… #Mamba,” the tweet read.
Hours before Bryant’s death, on Saturday night, Lakers power forward LeBron James surpassed Bryant to become the No. 3 NBA all-time scorer.
LeBron reflects on his favorite Kobe memories and the impact the Mamba has had on his life 🤝 pic.twitter.com/UDBYdttSli
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 26, 2020
When asked on Saturday about Bryant, James reflected on his entrance into the NBA, saying, “As I started playing more ball and I went into high school, the things he was doing on the floor I admired, and wanted to be a part of. I went to ABCD camp and he came and talked to the kids that were there and I happened to be one of the kids that were there. I was just listening. I was trying to soak up everything I could.”
At a game between the Toronto Raptors and the San Antonio Spurs, players ran out the final 24 seconds on the first possession shot clock in honor of Bryant.
While NBA players tweeted their memorials and sympathies, actors, singers and others who frequent Los Angeles paid their respects to the legendary player.
“I cannot believe this is real. My god. Oh my god,” model Chrissy Teigen wrote.
Television host Ellen DeGeneres wrote that her heart ached for Bryant’s family.
rest in peace Kobe 🕊 pic.twitter.com/YtlMAVJHIJ
— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) January 26, 2020
Like everyone, I’m stunned and saddened by the news about Kobe Bryant. My heart is broken for his wife and family.
— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 26, 2020
We can never forget how precious life is. How those who are special to you and never let them forget how deeply you love them
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) January 26, 2020
— Reese Witherspoon (@ReeseW) January 26, 2020
I cannot believe this is real. My god. Oh my god.
— christine teigen (@chrissyteigen) January 26, 2020
“Like everyone, I’m stunned and saddened by the news about Kobe Bryant. My heart is broken for his wife and family,” DeGeneres wrote.
Actress Reese Witherspoon wrote that she was devastated by the news.
“Just devastated to hear about #KobeBryant .An extraordinary athlete, and a genuinely kind, wonderful man. Sending love, prayers & compassion to his family. To his entire @NBA family as well,” she tweeted.
Celebrity Khloe Kardashian wrote that the news had left her shaking.
“Please don’t let this be True. I’m shaking,” she wrote.
Olympic gold medalist Simone Biles shared an image of herself with Bryant.
“Rest in peace Kobe,” she wrote.
Politicians also shared their condolences after learning of Bryant’s passing.
President Donald Trump tweeted, saying, “Reports are that basketball great Kobe Bryant and three others have been killed in a helicopter crash in California. That is terrible news!”
Former President Barack Obama called Bryant a legend and said he was also heartbroken over the loss of Bryant’s daughter, Gianna Bryant, 13, who also died in the helicopter crash.
“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,” Obama wrote.
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
Presidential candidate and former Vice President Joe Biden said he didn’t know Bryant well, but said the NBA star’s death “makes you realize you’ve got to make every day count.”
Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and current presidential candidate, said he was shocked to learn of Bryant’s death.
“This is somebody who affected so many fans and supporters and it’s just very difficult to believe and of course we will be thinking of not just his family but everybody who is going to be impacted and mourning based on that news,” he said.
California Gov. Gavin Newsom tweeted that the world had lost a legend in losing Bryant.
“Kobe Bryant’s 20 year career with the @Lakers raised the bar for every player. He willed his team to triumphs. Competed with unparalleled ferocity. Defied the odds. Simply put — he was an icon. Our hearts go out to his family and fans,” he wrote.