Magic Johnson Honors Kobe Bryant After His Death: 'He Was Such an Icon'

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2020

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 25:  Former Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant, left and Earvin Magic Johnson, president of basketball operations of the Lakers talk during the game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Denver Nuggets on October 25, 2018 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Robert Laberge/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson provided an emotional tribute to the late Kobe Bryant and Bryant's daughter, Gianna, on Sunday.

Johnson offered prayers to the family, opened up about moments they shared together revolving around basketball and life, called Bryant the "greatest Laker of all-time" and reflected on the fact that "he was such an icon."

Earvin Magic Johnson @MagicJohnson

We love you forever. #8 #24🙏🏾❤️

Earvin Magic Johnson @MagicJohnson

Laker Nation, the game of basketball & our city, will never be the same without Kobe. Cookie & I are praying for Vanessa, his beautiful daughters Natalia, Bianka & Capri, as well as his parents Joe & Pam & his sisters. We will always be here for the Bryant family. https://t.co/WWxmtEAJqZ

Earvin Magic Johnson @MagicJohnson

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. https://t.co/PIv7obzr2x

Earvin Magic Johnson @MagicJohnson

He was such an icon but also did so much for LA. He was passionate about serving the homeless and was an advocate for women's basketball. Coaching his daughter’s basketball team brought him so much happiness.

Earvin Magic Johnson @MagicJohnson

As I try to write this post, my mind is racing. I’m in disbelief and have been crying all morning over this devastating news that Kobe and his young daughter, Gigi have passed away in a helicopter crash. Cookie and I are heartbroken. https://t.co/X2vF0M0a1u

Earvin Magic Johnson @MagicJohnson

I love him, his family and what he stood for on the court and off the court.

Earvin Magic Johnson @MagicJohnson

My friend, a legend, husband, father, son, brother, Oscar winner and greatest Laker of all-time is gone. It’s hard to accept. Kobe was a leader of our game, a mentor to both male and female players. https://t.co/NXsrXmCkkG

Earvin Magic Johnson @MagicJohnson

He gave his knowledge, time, and talent to tutor so many at the youth level, collegiate level, & NBA & WNBA players. Words can’t express the impact that he had on the game of basketball. I know basketball fans all over the world will miss him, especially the City of Los Angeles. https://t.co/ZoB3Uwbvzk

Bryant and Gianna, nicknamed Gigi, died Sunday morning in a helicopter crash. The city of Calabasas shared the news.

Both Bryant and Johnson are Lakers legends and largely considered two of the best in the storied franchise's history.

Johnson wasn't the only Lakers legend to offer condolences and reflect on Bryant's life, as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Shaquille O'Neal, who won three championships with the late guard, reflected on his life as well:

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar @kaj33

Most people will remember Kobe as the magnificent athlete who inspired a whole generation of basketball players. But I will always remember him as a man who was much more than an athlete. https://t.co/9EZuwk8wrV


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 https://t.co/pigHywq3c1

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement on Sunday's news, per Candace Buckner of the Washington Post:

"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.

"We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vanessa, and their family, the Lakers organization and the entire sports world."

Bryant played all 20 seasons of his NBA career on the Lakers, amassing five championships, two NBA Finals MVP awards, two scoring titles, 15 All-NBA selections, 12 All-Defensive selections, 18 All-Star nods and a league MVP.

He will forever be remembered as an all-time Laker, and Johnson reacted as such Sunday.