NBA Commissioner Adam Silver Says 'the NBA Family is Devastated' by Kobe Bryant's Death at 41
Adam Silver, the NBA’s commissioner and chief executive officer, issued a statement following basketball legend Kobe Bryant’s tragic death at 41 in a helicopter crash that also claimed the life of his 13-year-old daughter and 7 others in Calabasas, California Sunday morning
“The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna,” Silver’s statement began.
It continued: “For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning. He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary: five NBA championships, an NBA MVP award, 18 NBA All-Star selections, and two Olympic gold medals. But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability. He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking a special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna.”
“We send out heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vanessa, and their family, the Lakers organization and the entire sports world,” the statement concluded.
Many NBA players and coaches mourned Bryant’s death, openly crying as they discussed the loss and paying tribute to him in a number of ways, including the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors taking a 24-second violation to nod to Bryant’s jersey number.
The former Los Angeles Lakers player was traveling with eight other people in his private helicopter when it went down, Los Angeles emergency officials confirmed. A source confirmed Bryant’s death to PEOPLE.
Emergency personnel responded, but none of the nine people onboard the aircraft survived, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office said during a press conference.
Sources told ESPN that the helicopter was headed to a travel basketball game for Gianna.
Spokespersons for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and L.A. Police Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.
Bryant is survived by Vanessa, 37, and three of their four children together: daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.