Known as one of the NBA’s all-time greats, Bryant was an 18-time All-Star over the course of his 20 years in the league. He won five NBA championships, two NBA Finals MVPs and one league MVP before retiring from basketball in 2016.
A longtime Nike athlete, Bryant had a signature sneaker franchise called the Kobe. The popular sneaker inspired a celebration, called Mamba Day, held on Aug. 24, representing Bryant’s two on-court numbers, 8 and 24. In his post-NBA years, the star won an Academy Award for his short film, “Dear Basketball.”
News of Bryant’s passing sent famous athletes, celebrity friends and fans reeling.
NBA superstars, including Dwyane Wade, Paul Pierce and Scottie Pippen, took to Twitter to share their shock and disbelief.
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban also reacted: “Damn. RIP Mamba. May your memory be a blessing.”
Meanwhile, former President Barack Obama tweeted: “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.”
Longtime Lakers fans Bella and Gigi Hadid posted tributes to Bryant. Gigi wrote: “This is too much. Rest In Peace and love together, legends. Growing up a Kobe fan brought so much joy to my life, like so many, and we were all so excited to see sweet Gigi play someday.“ Bella added: “I can’t believe this…Rest in Peace King…. thinking about Vanessa and their beautiful children during this time….”
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This is too much. Rest In Peace and love together, legends. Growing up a Kobe fan brought so much joy to my life, like so many, and we were all so excited to see sweet Gigi play someday. Sending strength and my deepest condolences to Vanessa, the Bryant family, and all the families affected by this tragedy.
NBA legend Bill Russell posted a touching tribute, writing: “Jeannine & I are absolutely shocked to hear of the loss of one of my favorite people & one of the best basketball minds in the history of the game! Our hearts & prayers to Vanessa & his girls. @kobebryant you were my biggest fan, but I was yours.”
Former New York Giant Victor Cruz and former Green Bay Packer Brett Favre were also among those to post tributes to Bryant on social media.
Click through the gallery to see the makeshift memorial fans created for Bryant outside the Staples Center.
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