Kobe Bryant dies at 41
In a series of videos on Instagram, Dwyane Wade spoke about Kobe Bryant.
"It seems like a bad dream you just wanna wake up from. It's a nightmare," Wade said through tears. "It's a sad day, there's no way around it."
"My family and I have been sharing Kobe stories. HE has so many moments he's given us. I'm thankful for those moments. He was one of my favorite players ... I'm gonna miss the friendship."
"When I came in the league I chased him. That's who I chased."
Kobe, thank you man. Thank you for all the memories."
The pylons at Los Angeles International Airport glowed in the Lakers' colors of purple and gold Sunday night in honor of Kobe Bryant.
Kobe Bryant's legacy and impact were felt as far as Japan, where he was the face of an American Red Cross campaign in 2011 to raise support for survivors of the tsunami and earthquake that rocked Tohoku.
That tragedy left more than 22,000 people dead or missing.
"The NBA family starts with the people of Japan, the survivors of the earthquake and the Pacific tsunami," said Bryant, in a Red Cross campaign video now being shared widely on Twitter.
Also tying Bryant to Japan is his name.
Bryant's parents reportedly named him after the famous beef that is produced in Japan's Kobe city.
In 1998, Bryant visited Kobe city and handed a donation of 480,000 yen ($4,400) raised through an Adidas charity event in Tokyo to help support social welfare in the city.
Bryant also became the ambassador of Kobe city between 2001 and 2011.
Former Lakers Coach Phil Jackson, who won five NBA championships with Kobe Bryant, released a statement Sunday.
The crash was a tragedy for multiple families. My heart goes out to Vanessa and the families that lost loved ones. Kobe was a chosen one -- special in many ways to many people. Our relationship as coach/player transcended the norm. He went beyond the veil.”
Christina Mauser, an assistant girls basketball coach at a private elementary school in Orange County, has been identified as one of the passengers who died in a helicopter crash Sunday along with Kobe Bryant.
Mauser was an assistant coach at Harbor Day School in Corona Del Mar, California.
“My kids and I are devastated. We lost our beautiful wife and mom today in a helicopter crash. Please respect our privacy. Thank you for all the well wishes they mean so much,” Matt Mauser, her husband, wrote on his Facebook page.
Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley tweeted Sunday that Christina Mauser's death has caused "so much pain for so many local families."
The 62nd annual Grammy awards began with Lizzo saying "this is for Kobe" during her opening performance.
Host Alicia Keys then came on stage and addressed Kobe Bryant's death:
"We’re all feeling crazy sadness right now because earlier today, Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero. And we’re literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built.”
The Grammys are taking place at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, where the Lakers play their home games.
“We’d never imagined in a million years that we’d have to start the show like this,” Keys said.
A moment of silence was held before Keys was joined on stage by Boyz II Men for a rendition of "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday."
President Trump expanded on his thoughts this evening on Kobe Bryant's death.
"Kobe Bryant, despite being one of the truly great basketball players of all time, was just getting started in life. He loved his family so much, and had such strong passion for the future. The loss of his beautiful daughter, Gianna, makes this moment even more devastating," Trump tweeted.
Trump tweeted earlier today, calling the news of Bryant's death "terrible."
The MLB, NFL and NHL all released statements Sunday on Kobe Bryant's death.
Davide Giudici, a friend and former childhood teammate of Kobe Bryant, spoke to CNN today about the passing of the NBA legend.
Giudici played with Bryant in the 1990s in the small Italian city of Reggio Emilia. As 11 and 12-year-olds, they practiced several days a week together on Cantine Riunite, a junior basketball team named for a local winemaker of region’s signature sparkling red.
"We had a strong team, but he was better than all of us. At 11 years old, he was already very secure in his power and what he would become,” Giudici, 41, told CNN. “I mean, I think we knew he was going to become a professional basketball player. We didn’t know then that he was going to be one of the biggest stars in the world.”
Kobe's father, Joe Bryant, played in Italy for several years, and was already locally famous when they moved to Reggio Emilia, Giudici said.
“We spent two years with Kobe and he spoke very fluent, very perfect Italian so he was like a friend of ours,” Giudici said.
Kobe Bryant's time in Reggio remains a point of pride for many, the kind of thing that comes up in conversation when people explain where their hometown is. Giudici says that even locals who have no interest in basketball claim Kobe Bryant as their own.
Giudici who is now a graphic designer, but plays locally, said he first found out about Bryant’s death through a flood of messages from friends.
“I saw like 40 Whatsapp messages: ‘Can you believe it? Did you see what happened? Did you hear what happened to Kobe?’” he said.
“My first concern was for his family. And it’s unbelievable, almost comic, that he died bringing his daughter to play basketball,” he said.
“It’s unbelievable. We are all fragile," Giudici said. "Even if Kobe is like a superstar, a superman, unfortunately we are all fragile.”