Kobe Bryant, one of the greatest NBA players of all-time and a superstar who transcended sports, was killed in a fiery helicopter crash in California on Sunday and players from all over the sports world reacted to the tragic news.
Bryant, 41, was one of the most recognized athletes across the world. He was selected in the first round of the 1996 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets out of Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania.
He subsequently was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for Vlade Divac before the start of the 1996-97 season. It proved to be one of the most important trades in NBA history.
Bryant would help lead the Lakers to five NBA championships and was a part of one of the best NBA dynasties alongside Shaquille O’Neal. Bryant and O’Neal won three straight NBA titles from 1999 to 2002. He then won two rings with Pau Gasol in 2009 and 2010.
“The Black Mamba” wrapped up his playing career in 2016. He played his final game against the Utah Jazz and finished with an epic performance – 60 points, four rebounds and four assists.
He finished his career as an 18-time All-Star, 15-time All-NBA team, 12-time All-NBA Defensive Team selection, two time NBA Finals MVP and the 2008 NBA MVP.
As reports of his tragic death trickled in, stars from the sports world tweeted their condolences and how shocked they were learning it.
After his playing career was over, Bryant won an Oscar for Best Animated Short called “Dear Basketball.”
To his accolades, he won two Olympic gold medals.
According to multiple reports, Bryant was on a helicopter flying over Calabasas – a city of 23,000 people located about 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.
The Federal Aviation Administration told Fox News the Sikorsky S-76 helicopter crashed under "unknown circumstances." FAA officials said local investigators informed them that five people were on board at the time.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office said all five onboard had died. They did not confirm the identities of the passengers at the late-morning news conference.
Fox News' Travis Fedschun contributed to this report.