SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Kobe Bryant's death sent shock waves throughout the world of sports, causing even long-time rivals to mourn his passing.
Bryant and his daughter were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in Southern California on Sunday. According to ESPN, the two were traveling to a basketball game with another player and parent when the crash happened.
The former NBA mega-star spent his entire 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers and was no stranger to competing against the Sacramento Kings. Even though the team knew Bryant as a rival, they respected his talent and his impact on the game.
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In a statement, the Kings said:
Today, the world mourns the loss of a legend. We are all extremely devastated and saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna," the Sacramento Kings said in a statement.
“Kobe is one of the greatest competitors the NBA has ever known. His storied career and commitment to the game is revered by fans around the globe. He inspired a generation on and off the court to strive for greatness and his countless contributions to basketball will live on.
We will forever remember the mutual respect shared between Kobe and Sacramento. On behalf of the entire Kings organization, we extend our deepest condolences to his wife Vanessa, their family and all those impacted as we hold them in our hearts and prayers at this most difficult time.
For NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, the strongest part of Bryant's legacy was the inspiration he gave to countless people around the world to play the game.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said Bryant helped improve the lives of youth and families through the Kobe Bryant and Vanessa Bryant Foundation and was an outspoken advocate in combating homelessness.