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Michael Jordan Issues Statement on Kobe Bryant: 'He Was Like a Little Brother'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 26, 2020

LAS VEGAS - FEBRUARY 17:  (L-R) Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers pose for a portrait on All-Star Saturday Night during the NBA All-Star Weekend on February 17, 2007 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. 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. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2007 NBAE  (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

NBA legend and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets, Michael Jordan, released a statement Sunday following the death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people in a helicopter crash:

Estee Portnoy @esteep

Statement from Michael Jordan: https://t.co/oI7w6e7HLI

Los Angeles officials held a news conference offering further details on the crash, though they didn't confirm the identities of any of the victims:

CBS News @CBSNews

UPDATE: L.A. officials held a news conference on the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight others this morning. An investigation is still underway to determine the remaining victims and the circumstances surrounding the crash. https://t.co/R0RP9iwDbl https://t.co/lAB6WK6AJ2

NBA and Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson also shared his thoughts on Bryant's death and the life that he lived:

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

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

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

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

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

A number of former and current NBA players, including several of Bryant's teammates, also expressed their grief and disbelief regarding his death:

SHAQ @SHAQ

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

SHAQ @SHAQ

Kobe was so much more than an athlete, he was a family man. That was what we had most in common. I would hug his children like they were my own and he would embrace my kids like they were his. His baby girl Gigi was born on the same day as my youngest daughter Me’Arah. https://t.co/BHBPN5Wq8V

Derek Fisher @derekfisher

Struggling to process what is now a reality. Kobe’s life after basketball was just beginning and his second act was going to be even greater. His legacy, Gigi’s legacy both will live on forever!

Pau Gasol @paugasol

Beyond devastated... my big brother... I can’t, I just can’t believe it

Joel Embiid @JoelEmbiid

Man I don’t even know where to start😭😭 I started playing ball because of KOBE after watching the 2010 finals. I had never watched ball before that and that finals was the turning point of my life. I WANTED TO BE LIKE KOBE. I’m so FREAKING SAD right now!!!! RIP LEGEND

Trae Young @TheTraeYoung

All the Lessons All the Advice Every word you ever told me... Will stick with me forever Thank You Kobe🙏🏽❤️ https://t.co/WPCdHg3iyt

Trae Young @TheTraeYoung

...This S*** can’t be real... this the first moment I was able to meet Gianna Maria, she’s been to only 3 games this year... 2 of them were mine... She told me I was her favorite player to watch🙏🏽 I can’t believe this😢😭 Rest Easy Gigi❤️ https://t.co/IfDrE9Gjlv

Jordan and Bryant will always be linked in basketball history. When Bryant entered the league in 1996, he was seen as the heir apparent to Jordan, and much of his game and style mirrored that of the Chicago Bulls legend. Like Jordan, Bryant became a legend himself, with a resume that speaks for itself:

  • 18-time All-Star
  • Five-time champion
  • 2007-08 NBA MVP
  • Two-time Finals MVP
  • 11-time All-NBA First Team selection
  • Two-time scoring champ

That resume put Bryant in the conversation for best player ever, along with the likes of Jordan, LeBron James and others. It's been a fun debate for NBA fans, but on Saturday, Allen Iverson offered the best-possible perspective on that conversation.

"It's hard when you try to compare [LeBron] and Mike and Kobe together," Iverson said after James passed Bryant for third all-time in scoring, per Michael Lee of The Athletic. "All of them are just great. All of them had different talents. That's why it's always a coin flip for me, when it comes to those guys. I'll take any of them, if I had a chance to."

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