The hockey community is mourning the death of former NBA player Kobe Bryant. Multiple reports indicate Bryant passed away in a tragic plane crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday morning. Bryant was 41.
According to the reports, Bryant was travelling with eight other people in his private helicopter when it went down. A fire broke out and nobody on board survived. NBC News has since confirmed that Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, is one of the people who perished in the crash.
This is a devastating day for the sports world. Bryant was a generational NBA talent who inspired many of the current greats in the sports world. Bryant’s incredible basketball legacy includes 5 NBA Championships, 18 All-Star appearances and an MVP Award. He spent all 20 seasons of his NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Some sports fans outside of basketball may know the name, but may not be familiar with who Kobe Bryant really was. Kobe’s last ever tweet is the perfect example of the person he was off the court.
On Saturday night, Lakers star LeBron James passed Kobe Bryant for third place on the all-time NBA scoring list. Bryant’s last ever tweet was congratulating James on passing him and “continuing to move the game forward.”
Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother 💪🏾 #33644
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 26, 2020
Tributes for Kobe Bryant have poured in from all over the world. The hockey community has taken to social media to pay their respects to one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
Washington Capitals’ captain Alex Ovechkin is among the many prominent NHL stars who have been affected by Bryant’s death. The Russian superstar took to Twitter on Sunday to pay his respects. Ovechkin has met Kobe 3-4 times and tweeted out photos of the two meeting as part of a touching tribute.
I’m so heartbroken. cant believe…Blessed to have chance to meet you. RIP Legend. 🙏🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/TlpRZdVpu7
— Alex Ovechkin (@ovi8) January 26, 2020
Ovechkin also spoke to the media about what Kobe meant to him and how the former NBA star was an inspiration. “He always treated me well,” Ovechkin told reporters. “He was a legend in the basketball world and in the whole world. It’s tough. I still can’t believe it.”
Capitals' Captain Alex Ovechkin on the passing of Kobe Bryant pic.twitter.com/ojeLVkg2Hc
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 26, 2020
We’ve compiled other reactions from the hockey community down below.
— Spittin' Chiclets (@spittinchiclets) January 26, 2020
Janet and I have no words to describe our shock and sadness on the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant today. Praying for him and his family. 🙏
— Wayne Gretzky (@WayneGretzky) January 26, 2020
I always wanted to be like you. Praying for you and your family through these tough times. RIP mamba @kobebryant
— Nazem Kadri (@43_Kadri) January 26, 2020
I’ve always wanted to be like you. Not only as a player but also as a person. You represent everything that is great about sports. #RIPKobe
— Claude Giroux (@28CGiroux) January 26, 2020
What a sad day. Forever a legend! RIP 24
— Henrik Lundqvist (@HLundqvist30) January 26, 2020
— P.K. Subban (@PKSubban1) January 26, 2020
I don’t even know how to begin to process this and don’t feel I ever will. Kobe, you were one of my idols and someone I strived to be like. You changed the world and today the world hurts. My heart is broken. Thoughts and prayers to everyone involved in this tragedy. #rip #24 #8
— Pat Maroon (@patmaroon) January 26, 2020
My deepest condolences to the Bryant family. RIP Kobe and daughter Gianna
— Mitchell Marner (@Marner93) January 27, 2020
— Wayne Simmonds (@Simmonds17) January 27, 2020
— Anze Kopitar (@AnzeKopitar) January 26, 2020
Kobe didn’t just inspire basketball players, but all athletes including myself. His passion for the game, desire for competition and pursuit of greatness was very inspiring.
Never take any moment for granted. #RIPMambaAndGianna Condolences to all families involved.
— John Tavares (@91Tavares) January 27, 2020
A very, very dark day in sports.