The tragic news of Kobe Bryant’s death sent shockwaves around the sports world Sunday.
Athletes, coaches, reporters, fans and even US presidents took to social media and reacted with heartache and prayers with the news of the NBA superstar’s passing, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. They died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, along with seven others.
Kobe Bryant’s legacy as a basketball player will be felt for as long as the game is played. His legacy extended beyond basketball to all walks of life, including the University of Alabama football team.
In 2018 the Crimson Tide received a visit from the five-time NBA champion. Bryant spoke to the team about being a leader and being successful. Bryant sat down with Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban and the two discussed the ‘process’ and facing adversity, among other topics.
Saban released a statement Sunday following the announcement of Bryant’s death.
“The world lost a truly special person today. Our hearts go out to Kobe’s family, friends and all who loved him as both a basketball player and a person. Kobe was one of the greatest to ever play the game. But what truly separated him was his competitive spirt and unmatched work ethic. When Kobe spoke to our team, he talked about how he went to work knowing how perfect was unattainable but put everything into closing the gap on perfect every day. This is an unbelievably sad day. He leaves a tremendous legacy for all who knew and loved him.”
— Xavier McKinney (@mckinney15__) January 26, 2020
The news of Bryant’s death hit home for Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats.
“As a father of 3 daughters myself my heart is broken at the news of Kobe today,” Oats stated on Twitter. “Prayers are with his family and the families of others involved in the accident. Life is short. Take time to tell your loved ones how much you love them today.”
The news of Bryant’s death happened in the middle of the Crimson Tide women’s basketball game against Vanderbilt at Coleman Coliseum. Alabama head coach Kristy Curry found out just moments before the start of the game.
“About 30 seconds before I walked out,” Curry said. “There are so many more important things than a win today and I think that really puts it all in perspective. I appreciate all he’s done for women’s sports and to see how he supported the WNBA. Those are the things that come to my mind.
“It’s just a really sad day for basketball. I really didn’t want our kids (before the game) to know because so many of our kids look up to him.”
Sunday’s crash also had profound effect on former Crimson Tide baseball player Wade Waas. John Altobelli, who was also killed in the crash, coached Waas in the Cape Cod league.
Keeps getting worse. Played under him in the Cape and was as genuine as they get. Alto just wanted everyone to show out and have fun. https://t.co/nCDrlrXkjJ
— Wade Wass (@WadeWass_10) January 26, 2020
Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/k7505l2ot0
— Alabama Football (@AlabamaFTBL) January 26, 2020
Damn this one tough RIP KB 🙏🏾
— JJ⁴ (@jerryjeudy) January 26, 2020
I can’t even lie, this Kobe news hurt my heart! This feels unreal but my prayers go out to his family and all those that he inspired! His legacy will live forever! Rest In Paradise Kobe and GiGi! ❤️
— Terrell Lewis (@_Real24_) January 26, 2020
To my favorite Athlete Of All Time @kobebryant I love you bro & Rest In Peace to you & your daughter Gianna♥️ I pray God covers your family. 🙏🏾😢🐍8&24FOREVER
— Derrick Henry (@KingHenry_2) January 26, 2020