Kobe Bryant is dead at 41 years old after a helicopter crash in California, first reported by TMZ and confirmed by numerous reports, including ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
When the news broke at 2:32 p.m. EST, the basketball world was immediately shaken to its core. Fans instantly hoped that the news showing up on their timelines and feeds was false, and praying that one of the most inspirational athletes the world has ever seen hadn’t been taken away too soon.
As confirmation came down, fans were left devastated as the realization began that one of the league’s all-time greats had passed. Later, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed more tragic news, reporting that Bryant’s daughter Gianna was one of the victims of the fatal crash, along with another player and parent.
The future Hall of Famer played 20 seasons for the Lakers, winning five NBA Finals throughout his career, earning MVP honors once during his tenure and playing in 18 All-Star Games. He also won two gold medals while representing the United States in the Olympics.
Athletes from around the league took to social media to show their respects for the Lakers legend, reacting in real time to the news as footage continued to come down from the scene of the crash in California.
The Nuggets and Rockets tipped off shortly after the news of Bryant’s death was confirmed, and a moment of silence was held in the arena before the game started as players, coaches and fans paid their respects.
Rockets center Tyson Chandler was visibly upset as the action continued during the Nuggets-Rockets game, showcasing his emotion on the sidelines as the news continued to develop.
Just after passing Bryant in the league’s all-time scoring list, current Lakers forward LeBron James talked about the impact Bryant had on his life, and shared some of his favorite Black Mamba moments, as well.
Stars across other areas of the sports world were left devastated, as well, with many showing their respects for the Black Mamba on social media as they began to process the news.
Even away from the sports world, Bryant’s impact was evident, shown clearly by former President Barack Obama as the Chicago native reacted to the news.