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.
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.
I join the whole world and sporting fraternity in mourning the death of 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 pic.twitter.com/qN3gpbmn6D
— Eliud Kipchoge – EGH🇰🇪 (@EliudKipchoge) January 27, 2020
The world has lost one of the greatest basketball players of all time, in five-time NBA Champion Kobe Bryant, who tragically passed away with his daughter. His legacy is a testament of how hard work, dedication & competitiveness stands at the centre of the pursuit of excellence. pic.twitter.com/NsVDDRhJnF
— Min. Nathi Mthethwa (@NathiMthethwaSA) January 27, 2020
— Mbuyiseni Ndlozi (@MbuyiseniNdlozi) January 27, 2020
I am feeling a lot of pain and emotion while at #Sundance2020. My son plays basketball & we are both Kobe's fans. Kobe's legacy is eternal…l wonder if President Uhuru Kenyatta ever thinks of his legacy?Will the generation that comes after me sing of him or hang his descendants? pic.twitter.com/jrKs2OPlXT
— Boniface Mwangi (@bonifacemwangi) January 27, 2020
The death of Basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna is devastating. Kobe was not only a giant in sports, he was also a towering example of excellence in every sense. The world is certainly poorer without him. How heartbreaking to die with his daughter! Rest well pic.twitter.com/021w7k7kSC
— BOBI WINE (@HEBobiwine) January 27, 2020
A life well-lived is like a ripple in water, reaching unknown places &touching countless lives.Kobe’s tragic death reminds us all that life itself is not guaranteed.Taking risks &inspiring the world defines a star!We’re given a brief moment to impact the world& transform #RIPKobe pic.twitter.com/GvGG8aVtCP
— nelson chamisa (@nelsonchamisa) January 27, 2020