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Basketball icon Kobe Bryant’s death sparks outpour of grief from Africans

Kenyan marathon runner Eliud Kipchoge, Egypt’s Mo Salah, Ghanaian reggae-dance hall artist Shatta Wale, Ivory Coast former Captain Didier Drogba, and South Sudanese Raptors lead scout, Sarah Chan are among the many Africans who have paid tribute to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. RIP Kobe, you’ll always remain a legend.



For many on the continent, watching basketball was characterized by the presence of Shaquille O’Neil, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, Tim Duncan, Vince Carter and many others on the court. The death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna has left the world in shock.

Kobe died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. He played for Lakers for 20 years and was one of the NBA’s all-time greatest player.

Tributes from basketball fans across the continent, political leaders from across the world, celebrities and fellow sports stars have been pouring in, with touching statements and messages posted on social media.

South African comedian Trevor Noah tweeted, “Jesus this is heartbreaking,” in reaction to the tragic news.


Nine people died in the crash including baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa. It still comes as surreal to refer to the legend, Kobe in past tense.

Kenyan marathon runner, Eliud Kipchoge joined the world in grieving Kobe. He wrote, “I join the whole world and sporting fraternity in mourning the death of the NBA basketball star Kobe Bryant and his daughter in a fatal helicopter crash in the United States. My deepest heartfelt condolences go out to his family, friends and fans. Rest in peace Kobe.”

Egyptian and Liverpool star Mo Salah wrote on Twitter: “My heartfelt condolences go out to the families and friends of Kobe and of those who died in the terrible accident”.

Ghanaian African dancehall king Shatta Wale paid tribute to Kobe on his Instagram page, hee said, “Me playing basketball was from this Great Legend . . .RIP #Kobe.” The musician dedicated a song to Kobe and Gianna.

Read: Meet Sarah Chan: The first African woman to be Manager, Africa scouting for an NBA franchise


Nigerian music producer, Don Jazzy expressed his shock in a single tweet that showed he didn’t believe what had happened. “Kobe whatttt?????”

Didier Drogba who had met with Kobe while still playing for Chelsea and had exchanged jerseys with him expressed his grief, “It hurts so bad,” he tweeted, “my thoughts and condolences to your family Kobe Bryant. Thank you for all the advices and stories we shared, Man you are a true champion and a great man. May you and your lovely daughter rest in heaven #blackmamba #Kobe.”

Sarah Chan, the Raptors lead scout in Africa said on her Facebook page, “R.I.P Legend. This one will take a long time to internalize for everyone. So sudden, it’s unbelievable.” Chan is part of a large part of the continent who are mourning the death of Kobe.

Read: Meet Salma al-Majidi the first woman to coach male football in Sudan






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