Kobe Bryant, a Hall of Fame basketball player who won five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, died aged 41 on Sunday in a helicopter crash in California.

An image of Kobe Bryant is shown on a large screen outside the Staples Center after the retired Los Angeles Lakers basketball star was killed in a helicopter crash, in Los Angeles, California, U.S. January 26, 2020.
An image of Kobe Bryant is shown on a large screen outside the Staples Center after the retired Los Angeles Lakers basketball star was killed in a helicopter crash, in Los Angeles, California, U.S. January 26, 2020. (Reuters)

Kobe Bryant, a Hall of Fame basketball player who won five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, died aged 41 on Sunday in a helicopter crash in California. His 13-year-old daughter Gianna was among the nine people killed.

Following are reactions to his death:

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver:

"The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.

For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning. He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary: five NBA championships, an NBA MVP award, 18 NBA All-Star selections, and two Olympic gold medals.

"But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability. He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna."

NBA Hall of Famer Michael Jordan:

“Words can't describe the pain I am feeling. 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.” 

NBA Hall of Famer Larry Bird:

"Kobe was not only an icon in the sports arena, he was a man of the world and touched so many lives and communities in the most positive ways. His star was continuing to rise every day and he knew no limits because of his many intellectual and creative talents and desire to give back to others – his passion for the game, for his family and for others was apparent in everything he accomplished."

Former world number one golfer Tiger Woods:

"It's unbelievably sad and the reality is sinking in because I was told about five minutes ago.

"He burned so competitively hot, the desire to win he brought every night on both ends of the floor, not too many guys can say that. Any time he was in the game he’d take on their best player.

"It's a shocker to everyone, unbelievably sad, and one of the more tragic days.

Source: Reuters