Touching Reactions to Losing Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant’s sudden death, alongside his precious teenage princess and eight other beautiful souls, left a deep scar in the hearts of so many! The news was appalling, not just for the NBA or the sports world, but also for celebrities and fans around the world who are mourning together with family, friends and fellow sportsmen.
Social media filled with emotional tributes to Kobe, the greatest star of Los Angeles Lakers, a husband and a father of four beautiful daughters, one of whom, Gigi Bryant became angel together with her dad.
At first, the world just refused to accept the horrible truth. Social media was filled with messages like: “It can’t be”, “I hope this isn't true”, “there’s no way”, "Nooooooooooo God please No!".
Many stars, including Shaquille O’Neal and Billie Eilish, later shared with the media that they truly believed it to be the worst of fakes, a photoshop or the evilest joke. But with the news confirmed, the outpouring of emotion spread all over the Internet in the form of heartfelt tributes.
Cher tweeted the words that express all our feelings: “My [heart] Goes Out To Kobe’s Family, Friends, Fans. It’s SO HARD To Deal With The Death Of a GREAT STAR, Because We Feel As If We Knew Them Personally. Kobe Bryant Was a GREAT ATHLETE, & All Of America Will Feel His Loss. The [world] Has Lost a Bright Light”.
Jessica Simpson shared that she felt the loss particularly keenly after seeing emergency helicopters flying over her house. She turned to Kobe's wife in her Instagram tribute: "My heart is completely broken for all the families and loved ones left behind trying to make sense of things in this tragic moment. Vanessa, you are the woman and wife that championed your husband to greatness. My prayers are constant for everyone affected by this impactful loss."
The 2020 Grammy Awards ceremony happened to share the date with Kobe’s last flight and was also held at Mamba’s second home; the Staples Center, where he played for his entire career. And, of course, celebs on the stage of the Grammys and behind the scenes said their goodbyes and sent love and prayers.
Justin Timberlake shared his pictures with the basketball icon and told everyone about the strong bond between the two of them ever since they were teenagers. He wrote: “Kobe... You have connected so many of us. The Mamba Mentality will last for all of time. I know that will be a source for me every day as it has been for so many days before. Your legacy is with us. It’s our responsibility to pass it down now. I hope I can continue to make you proud, Vino.”
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We met when we were both teenagers and bonded over our drive and process. I was in awe of what you could do with a basketball and knew your talent went beyond your physical gifts and stretched to your mentality. A mentality that I would take with me throughout my whole career and still use every day. As the years went by, I watched you do things that seemed humanly unimaginable. And, through ups and downs, championships and injuries, you still remained with an unwavering resolve about your mentality to remain fierce to competition. But, every time we would speak or text, something started to change... your patience and ease grew. And it inspired me to continue to grow for myself. Years passed, and the “old man” jokes would start to be traded back and forth. We both appreciated a good “ribbing.” We joked about “The Vino Club.” You nicknamed yourself ‘Vino’ to represent how one could age gracefully as a fine wine does. But, you never stopped aiming to inspire me. Your confidence in me was huge - it really affected me because I admired you so much. I don’t mean as one of the greatest athletes ever. I mean as a person. People sometimes can confuse a will to win with a lack of compassion. That wasn’t you. You had both qualities. The last conversation that we shared was about being fathers and what that meant. That was, beyond all the things that we could do in this world, our true legacy. Who our children are and what beautiful people they will become. And, I guess right now, without being able to find all the words, THAT father connection is what is most devastating for me. I am sending my love to Vanessa and your family and to the families of everyone connected in the mourning of this terrible tragedy. My heart is broken and my family lifts you up in our thoughts and prayers. Kobe... You have connected so many of us. The Mamba Mentality will last for all of time. I know that will be a source for me every day as it has been for so many days before. Your legacy is with us. It’s our responsibility to pass it down now. I hope I can continue to make you proud, Vino. Champ, MVP, Legend, Hero, Inspiration, Father, Friend. I’m gonna miss you, brother. Mamba forever.
Demi Lovato also made an Instagram tribute, sharing a photo with Kobe and writing, "This makes me so sad. Kobe, you were always so sweet to me. Known you over 10 years.. not super well but we always joked about you coming over and playing that game of horse! You will be so missed by so many. You're a legend with wings now. RIP Kobe."
Justin Bieber shared a throwback childhood picture with Bryant, adding the caption: “It can't be. You always encouraged me mamba. Gave me some of the best quotes that we smile about to this day.! Love you man!”
Ellen DeGeneres tweeted "Like everyone, I'm stunned and saddened by the news about Kobe Bryant. My heart is broken for his wife and family." The TV host later offered an emotional revelation on her show: the sad day of Kobe's loss was her birthday, and she took the news as a reminder to celebrate life every day.
Kobe Bryant was someone who was always there when we wanted to help someone in need. For that, I will be forever grateful. https://t.co/KidJrfy0wt— Ellen DeGeneres (@TheEllenShow) January 28, 2020
Ellen's colleague and fellow show host, Jimmy Fallon, couldn’t hold back his tears while recalling the first time he met Kobe at a party and while discussing their shared talks on fatherhood Jimmy Kimmel turned his whole show into a tribute, including clips of Kobe's appearances in the studio. He talked a lot about Mamba's life, his importance for LA as a citizen, his dedication to his family and his hunger for life.
I will remember you 24/8. pic.twitter.com/9IdJTbFPN2— jimmy fallon (@jimmyfallon) January 28, 2020
Among other numerous celebrities who honored Kobe's memory, were Beyonce, Rihanna, Will Smith, Ben Affleck, Julia Roberts, Leonardo DiCaprio, Reese Witherspoon, Gigi Hadid, Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, Victoria and David Beckham, Samuel L. Jackson, Taylor Swift and John Legend. Yes, Kobe Bryant was far more than a basketball icon: he was a beloved adopted Los Angeles son, and he loved the city back with all his heart.
My heart is in pieces hearing the news of this unimaginable tragedy. I can’t fathom what the families are going through. Kobe meant so much to me and to us all. Sending my prayers, love, and endless condolences to Vanessa and the family and anyone who lost someone on that flight.— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) January 26, 2020
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This tragic loss struck us hard as a family. Kobe Bryant was an incredible figure on and off the court, a friend to David and determined to inspire the next generation. The loss of a daughter and husband is unthinkable for any parent and wife. David, myself and our family send all our love to Vanessa, the other girls and the families of those that were tragically lost with Kobe yesterday ❤️ x VB
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It’s taken me hours to work out what to write and still my words won’t ever be enough to describe how I am feeling after the tragic loss of Kobe. This was one special athlete, husband, father and friend. Having to write these words is hard enough but also knowing we have lost an amazing human being and his beautiful and talented daughter Gianna is heartbreaking. The commitment Kobe showed to his sport was inspiring, to go through the pain and to finish a game off like only he could inspired me to try to be better. Sometimes I would only go to games just to watch that clock go down to the last 2:00 minutes knowing that we were about to witness something special. Kobe always talked about Vanessa and his beautiful girls and how proud he was of them. Kobe’s passion was his family and basketball. He was determined to inspire the next generation of boys and girls to embrace the sport that he loved. His legacy will live on. My family’s love and prayers go out to Vanessa and the girls, to Kobe’s basketball family, and of course to the families of those who were tragically lost with him yesterday... 💛💜
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My heart is so heavy. No one should ever experience what the families involved are going through. This has affected us all so much but I cannot begin to imagine what Vanessa is feeling losing her husband and her baby girl. I cry just thinking about it. I am praying for the Bryant family, the Altobelli family and the families of all who perished in this unthinkable tragedy. Rest In Peace Legend
Kobe was truly larger than life, a legend. May he and all those who lost their lives today rest in peace. Love and condolences to his family. LA will never be the same.— Leonardo DiCaprio (@LeoDiCaprio) January 26, 2020
I am completely speechless and devastated at the unexpected passing of my dear friend, @kobebryant. Kobe had a big heart and an even bigger love for the community of Los Angeles. Through his foundation, he changed the lives of so many people and families with his wife, Vanessa. pic.twitter.com/4zs4zcjcfe— Paula Abdul (@PaulaAbdul) January 26, 2020
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Life is so fragile. This is the kind of loss that makes you deeply reflective. My prayers to Vanessa, her children and all of those who love Kobe and Gigi. This is a hard one. My heart is broken and bleeding everywhere today. This tragedy happened only a few miles from where I am. It’s heavy and it’s painful. Hug those you love. Don’t just SAY I love you. Show up and SHOW it! Rest in the arms of the Highest, Kobe and Gigi❤️ Prayers to the family of the pilot and the other two spirits that were accompanying Kobe and Gigi. RIP💕✨
In shock right now. RIP Kobe 😢— Mariah Carey (@MariahCarey) January 26, 2020
The world lost a giant today— Pharrell Williams (@Pharrell) January 26, 2020
Rest In Peace Kobe Bryant. Also praying for the other passengers that we lost and their families.
RIP Kobe, hero to many including my grandson, extraordinary athlete and always kind to me & my family. My deepest condolences to his family— Whoopi Goldberg (@WhoopiGoldberg) January 26, 2020
He even wrote a heartwarming thank you letter to LA when he retired. Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti took to Twitter to pay tribute to Bryant, writing, "Kobe will live forever in the heart of Los Angeles, and will be remembered through the ages as one of our greatest heroes."
Kobe Bryant was a giant who inspired, amazed, and thrilled people everywhere with his incomparable skill on the court — and awed us with his intellect and humility as a father, husband, creative genius, and ambassador for the game he loved. pic.twitter.com/hkb0lbRwie— MayorOfLA (@MayorOfLA) January 26, 2020
For all of his professional career, Kobe wore only two uniforms: the one of the Lakers and the other was that of the US Olympic team. He was a real pride to the nation.
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."
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.— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 26, 2020
NBA players’ reaction
Kobe's fellow NBA players were also unreserved when it came to their outpouring of emotions.
Joel Embiid shared that he started playing basketball because of Kobe, and that he wanted to be LIKE KOBE. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar posted a video with the caption "I will always remember him as a man who was much more than an athlete."
Magic Johnson took his emotions and memories to Twitter in a series of tweets. Among the tributes, he wrote: "Kobe and I shared so many special conversations about life and basketball. We had so much in common off the court. I used to love talking to him about Lakers basketball, being fathers and husbands and how much we loved Italy. I will miss those conversations and him so much."
Michael Jordan, the giant whom Kobe amicably dreamed of beating, shared an emotional statement: "I loved Kobe — he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often, and I will miss those conversations very much. He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force. Kobe was also an amazing dad who loved his family deeply — and took great pride in his daughter's love for the game of basketball."
LeBron James was shocked and heartbroken, too. Especially considering that Kobe's last tweet was dedicated to him. The night before the crash James surpassed Bryant to become the NBA's third-highest scorer of all time.
Kobe celebrated his friend’s success, congratulating him with words "Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames. Much respect my brother ?? #33644"" In his Instagram tribute, LeBron wrote: "I promise you I’ll continue your legacy man! You mean so much to us all here especially #LakerNation?? and it’s my responsibility to put this shit on my back and keep it going!! Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me! I got US here!"
And of course, Shaquille O’Neal honored the memory of his basketball brother and their special bond: "There’s no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of losing my niece Gigi & my brother @kobebryant I love u and u will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW".
There’s no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of loosing my neice Gigi & my brother @kobebryant I love u and u will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW pic.twitter.com/pigHywq3c1— SHAQ (@SHAQ) January 26, 2020
During an appearance on TNT, O'Neal shared that he hadn’t felt a pain that sharp in a while even after the many losses he had experienced in 47 years.
As reported by CBS News, NBA players have begun changing their numbers, giving up their 8 and 24 jerseys, as a sign of respect for Bryant who played under these numbers.
With all the overwhelming emotions we have, it's still impossible to imagine the pain Kobe's family must be experiencing. His wife, Vanessa Bryant, broke her silence on the fourth day after the tragedy in an Instagram post where she thanked millions of people for their love, support and prayers.
Vanessa wrote: "I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon.
I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way. Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever."
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My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri. We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately. There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon. I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way. Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable. I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever. Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief and your support with us. We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality. To honor our Team Mamba family, the Mamba Sports Foundation has set up the MambaOnThree Fund to help support the other families affected by this tragedy. To donate, please go to MambaOnThree.org. To further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports, please visit MambaSportsFoundation.org. Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me. #Mamba #Mambacita #GirlsDad #DaddysGirls #Family ❤️
She also asked people for the respect and privacy her family needs right now to navigate this new reality. Our thoughts are with Kobe's loved ones during this heartbreaking time.