Sports world remembers Kobe Bryant on one-year anniversary of his death

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NBA icon Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others died tragically in a helicopter crash in Southern California on Jan. 26, 2020, while on the way to a basketball tournament.

Bryant and his daughter were honored last year at a star-studded public memorial on Feb. 24, 2020, at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, where Bryant spent most of his two-decade career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

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On Tuesday, the sports world reacted to the one-year anniversary of Bryant’s death.

“Thank you God for allowing me to enjoy @kobebryant for 20 years as a great basketball player, athlete, husband, father, philanthropist, mentor and teacher of the game to many men and women of all ages, best friend to Rob Pelinka, and brother to @jeaniebuss. He will always be my @Lakers brother for life. Laker Nation we will always remember the brilliance, the legend, and the mamba mentality of #8/#24,” Lakers legend Magic Johnson wrote in an Instagram post.

Former teammate Pau Gasol, who won two championships with Bryant during their time together, also shared his thoughts on Instagram, dedicating a post to Kobe and Gianna.

“I miss you, hermano… not a day goes by that you are not present in what I do,” Gasol wrote. “Your spirit, your drive, your ambition, your love… continues to shine in my life and in many others. Photos, videos, very special moments keep being shared by countless people that have admired you and loved you in their own way, reminding me how incredibly lucky I have been to share some of those moments with you.

“I hope you and Gigi are smiling down seeing how strong, sweet and amazing your girls are… they are growing so fast brother… Today, we honor and celebrate both of you, you have left us with so much…, but even if it isn’t how we would like things to be, you are, and always will be, in our hearts.”

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Here were some other reactions from athletes across basketball, as well as other major sports.

ONE YEAR SINCE KOBE BRYANT’S DEATH, LOSS AND LAWSUITS STILL FRESH

Bryant, who entered the league straight out of Lower Merion High School in Pennsylvania, spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers, where he was a five-time NBA champion and two-time NBA Finals MVP.

VANESSA BRYANT HONORS ANNIVERSARY OF KOBE BRYANT, DAUGHTER GIANNA’S DEATHS WITH LETTER FROM GIGI’S BEST FRIEND

The “Black Mamba” was an 18-time NBA All-Star (second all-time only behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), 15-time All-NBA selection (tied with Abdul-Jabbar and Tim Duncan for the most all-time), and 12-time NBA All-Defensive honoree, which includes nine All-Defensive first-team selections (tied with Michael Jordan, Kevin Garnett and Gary Payton for the most ever). Bryant, who has two jersey numbers retired by the Lakers — No. 8 and No. 24 — is the all-time leading scorer (33,643 points) in franchise history.

KYRIE IRVING WEARS KOBE BRYANT LAKERS’ JERSEY AHEAD NETS, HEAT GAME

Bryant, the first guard to play at least 20 seasons in the league, scored a career-high 81 points in 2006 against the Toronto Raptors, which is the second-most points scored in a single game in NBA history — Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in a game back in 1962. In his final NBA game in 2016, Bryant scored an NBA season-high 60 points against the Utah Jazz in the Lakers’ 101–96 victory. He became the oldest player to score 60+ points in a game at 37 years and 234 days old.

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