“When it came time to decide whether or not I should retire, [it was] really an acceptance of that mortality that all athletes face,” Kobe Bryant continued. “And if you combat it, you’ll always have that inner struggle within yourself… So… I’m comfortable with it.” Around the time of his retirement, Bryant learned to accept the end. He grew comfortable with it. With his and his daughter Gianna’s sudden and unexpected passing, those who admired the transcendent athlete still had to pick up the pieces. It’s hard to find the words for this situation, but these stars tried their best.
Steph Curry Thanks Bryant
Steph Curry entered the NBA in 2009 as the number seven pick. Kobe Bryant had been in the league for 13 years already, making him the pillar that Curry looked up to for inspiration.
“A lot of questions right now,” Curry continued. “Our faith is being tested…but all I can say is thank you. May you and Gianna rest easy!” Curry, a man of faith, had little to no words to share on his Instagram post due to pure shock. All he could do is thank Bryant.
Taylor Swift Left In Pieces
It wasn’t that long ago when Bryant decided to take the stage with Taylor Swift during her 1989 World Tour. It was the first night, and it took place in Los Angeles at the Staples Center, a place Bryant knew too well.
“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,” Swift wrote on Twitter. From athletes to country music stars, Bryant’s influence was limitless.
A Presidential Mention
Bryant and the former POTUS met and spent time together a few times away from the basketball court. Barack Obama was a huge fan of Bryant’s, and it showed when the Lakers made the White House visit during his presidency. Obama posted a heartfelt message on his Twitter.
“Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act,” Obama continued. “To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents.” As a parent, the empathy came into effect for the former president.
Hathaway Mourns His Goodness
Even as the monumental competitor Bryant was, people who knew him grew to appreciate the other side of Bryant. He was funny, kind and a family man. Actress Anne Hathaway makes a note of the kindred spirit the Lakers’ legend possessed.
“Few achieve greatness,” Hathaway wrote, “Even fewer embrace the responsibility that comes with it. Kobe Bryant possessed undeniable and astonishing talent, but today I mourn the loss of a great man’s goodness. What a brilliant and illuminated soul.”
Seacrest Shares His Feelings
Being the Hollywood maven that Ryan Seacrest is, he’s shared a fair amount of moments with the former Los Angeles Laker in the city. He even had a great interview with Bryant during the Olympics in 2012.
“Kobe … was one of the greatest basketball players and greatest athletes to ever live. His loss will be felt even more deeply tonight at a place he considered home — this, the Staples Center,” Seacrest continued. “We’re sending our heartfelt condolences to his beloved wife, and the family he left behind.” All you can do is send you best wishes at a time like this.
Demi Lovato Knew Bryant For More Than Ten Years
Demi Lovato has a history of dealing with grief, so when the news hit her on the day she had to perform at the Grammy’s, seeing her choke up at the start of her performance was even more painful.
“This makes me so sad. Kobe, you were always so sweet to me,” Lovato started. “Known you over ten years.. not super well, but we always joked about you coming over and playing that game of horse!” They may never get to play that game, but he’ll always be there in spirit.
Gigi Hadid Grew Up Loving Bryant
Sports stars, actors, and even models all felt the pain of losing Bryant. Gigi Hadid was born in Los Angeles in 1995 but grew up nearby in Santa Barbara. Once she became old enough to remember, Bryant was the most talked-about figure in Los Angeles.
“Being a fan of yours brought so much joy to my life, like so many,” Gigi wrote. “Love forever. Sending strength and my deepest condolences to the sweet Bryant family. Can’t believe it.”
Brothers For Life
Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal could’ve become the greatest duo of all-time had it not been for personal differences. After a rumored-filled beef that lasted for some years, they patched things up and became the brothers they should’ve always been. O’Neal couldn’t believe the news.
“There’s no words to express the pain I’m going through with this tragedy of losing my niece Gigi & my brother @kobebryant I love you, and you will be missed,” Shaq tweeted. “My condolences go out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW”
He Was A Little Brother To Jordan
If there’s one thing any sports fan should know about Bryant, then its that he wanted to be better than Michael Jordan. That was who he looked to for inspiration and anything about the game of basketball. The two were close.
“I loved Kobe – he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often, and I will miss those conversations very much. 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.”
Leo Knew Kobe’s Impact
Leonardo DiCaprio and Bryant have a few similarities in their careers. Much like DiCaprio still does, Bryant always gave it his all during every performance. Bryant only managed to get one MVP award, while DiCaprio endured many years to finally get his lone Oscar (more to come?).
“Kobe was truly larger than life, a legend,” DiCaprio tweeted. “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.”
Witherspoon Completely Devastated
Reese Witherspoon, an exceptionally talented actress, knows a thing or two about being a special talent. Her skills helped her become one of the most well-known entertainers on the planet, so hearing the news of Bryant left her heartbroken.
“Just devastated to hear about #KobeBryant. An extraordinary athlete, and a genuinely kind, wonderful man,” Witherspoon continued. “Sending love, prayers & compassion to his family. To his entire NBA family as well.”
West Pays His Respects
Some are probably not aware, but Bryant used to have a music career when he first entered the NBA. It never really evolved to anything, but Bryant continued to develop relationships with musicians throughout his NBA tenure, including Kanye West.
“Kobe, We love you, brother. We’re praying for your family and appreciate the life you’ve lived and all the inspiration you gave,” West wrote on Twitter. The two appeared in a Nike commercial in 2012 hilariously mocking West’s ego.
Tyson Mourns With The Rest Of The World
Mike Tyson’s reign as the Undisputed champion began earlier than Bryant’s tenure as the best basketball player on the planet. Once Tyson quit boxing, he had nothing but time to admire the Lakers’ star, which is why he was so distraught when the news broke.
“I mourn with the world. Lost a legend. No words. I’m messed up,” Tyson tweeted. “RIP Kobe Bryant, Gianna, and the rest of the passengers.” Tyson’s life had plenty of tragedy that he had to overcome, so we’re sure he wasn’t expecting this.
Love From Spice
Being the ultimate competitor and source of inspiration that Bryant is, he made many friends in different sports, including David Beckham. The two grew close, and that goes for his wife, Victoria Beckham as well. She wrote a touching tribute on her Instagram page.
“Kobe Bryant was an incredible figure on and off the court, a friend to David and determined to inspire the next generation,” she wrote. “The loss of a daughter and husband is unthinkable for any parent and wife.”
Moore Heartbroken On Every Level
The “Candy” singer, Mandy Moore, feels the same as everyone else over the news. She shared a very insightful message over the matter that anyone would be able to understand whether they knew Bryant or not.
“No words. Unfathomable and heartbreaking on every level,” Moore captioned her Instagram post. “You don’t have to know someone personally to recognize their contribution to the world and their long-lasting legacy as an athlete and a human.” She couldn’t have said it any better.
Legend Is Stunned
As we mentioned earlier, Bryant knows and is friends with many of the most famous musicians, including John Legend. Legend, tasked with already giving a tribute to the fallen Nipsey Hussle on the day Bryant passed, shared his thoughts while at the Grammys.
“I’m so sad and stunned right now,” Legend wrote. “In Staples Arena, where Kobe created so many memories for all of us, preparing to pay tribute to another brilliant man we lost too soon, Nipsey Hussle. Life can be so brutal and senseless sometimes.”
Rising Star Trae Young Honors Kobe On The Court
As many of the NBA players were on Sunday, January 26, after the news broke, Trae Young was visibly upset on the court before the game started. The second-year player who usually wears 11 came out donning Bryant’s classic number eight. He even began the trend of getting called for an 8-second violation in honor of the former Laker.
For those who don’t know, the 8-second violation is when you fail to cross the half-court line promptly. Other teams around the league began doing it too. Young also tweeted, “All the Lessons. All the Advice. Every word you ever told me…Will stick with me forever. Thank You, Kob.”
Beckham At A Loss
Two of the best to do it in their sports, David Beckham and Bryant developed a tight relationship. The two inspired each other on and off the field and court, helping them keep a close-knit friendship.
“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,” Beckham wrote on his Instagram. “The commitment Kobe showed to his sport was inspiring.” Some things may never be the same.
Magic Will Never Forget Kobe
If you were to ask Magic Johnson who the greatest Laker player of all-time was, he’d say Bryant. Conversely, if you wanted to know from Bryant, he’d tell you, Johnson. The two had a special bond that Johnson will never forget.
“Laker Nation, the game of basketball & our city, will never be the same without Kobe,” Johnson tweeted. “Cookie and I are praying for Vanessa, his beautiful daughters Natalia, Bianka, and Capri, as well as his parents Joe & Pam & his sisters. We will always be here for the Bryant family.”
The Answer And Black Mamba
It’s tough to point out two competitors that competed harder than Allen Iverson and Kobe Bryant. The two were forces on the court and even faced off in the NBA Finals one year. Their competition helped to blossom a friendship that Iverson won’t ever forget.
“He came to my hotel, picked me up and took me to a restaurant,” Iverson wrote. “When we returned before he left, he asked me, ‘what are you going to do tonight?’ My reply was, ‘I’m going to the club, what are you going to do?’ He said, ‘I’m going to the gym.’ That is who he always was.”