Kobe Bryant and his daughter’s death has rocked the basketball community to its core after the Los Angeles legend was killed in a helicopter crash.
The 41-year-old spent his entire professional career playing for the Los Angeles Lakers and personified basketball in the city, winning five championships between 2000 and 2010, and his final Twitter post was a tribute to another NBA great and current LA player LeBron James.
The 35-year-old James passed Lakers legend Bryant to become the NBA's all-time third highest scorer during the match, finishing it on 33,655 points and now trailing only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387) and Karl Malone (36,928).
And it was Bryant who paid respect to James as the ‘The King’ climbed the rankings.
Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother 💪🏾 #33644
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 26, 2020
“Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother #33644,” Bryant wrote, referencing the career points James had at the time.
While Bryant paid tribute to James yesterday, the sporting world has come together to pay tribute to the LA legend.
Tributes flow for Bryant
As news broke of the tragedy, tributes began to flow from all corners of the globe.
NBA legends including Scotty Pippen, Dwayne Wade and billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks, Mark Cuban, have all expressed their shock and sadness at the news.
Meanwhile many in the sporting community outside of the NBA including NFL superstar Tom Brady, UFC star Daniel Cormier and Manchester City player Raheem Sterling were among the many to express their devastation as the sporting community grieves this morning.
Nooooooooooo God please No!
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) 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
Damn. RIP Mamba. May your memory be a blessing
— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) January 26, 2020
Bryant had one of the greatest careers in recent NBA history and became one of the game’s most popular players as the face of the Lakers franchise. He was the league MVP in 2008 and a two-time NBA scoring champion.
During one of the most memorable championship runs in the NBA, Bryant teamed up with centre Shaquille O’Neal to lead the Lakers to NBA titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002.