Neymar dedicates goal to Bryant

Neymar dedicates goal to Bryant

From Kohli to Warne, cricket fraternity mourns Kobe Bryant’s death

The cricket community joined the rest of the world in mourning Kobe Bryant's tragic death with batting legend Sachin Tendulkar, India captain Virat Kohli and West Indies great Vivian Richards offering their condolences.

"Saddened to hear about the tragic demise of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna & others on-board the helicopter. My condolences to his family, friends and fans across the world. #KobeBryant," Tendulkar tweeted.

Kohli and India coach Ravi Shastri were devastated with the news.

"Absolutely devastated to hear this news today. So many childhood memories of waking up early and watching this magician doing things on the court that I would be mesmerized by. Life is so unpredictable and fickle. His daughter Gianna passed away too in the crash. Iam absolutely Heartbroken. Rest in peace.

Richards on his part said: "A true legend of the sporting world! Rest In Peace dear Kobe and his daughter. May the family have immense strength to overcome this sad time." Australian spin great Shane Warne was "stunned" by the tragedy.

"Like everyone, I'm stunned, shocked and saddened to hear the horrific news about Kobe Bryant and his 13 year old daughter who died in a helicopter crash.

Thoughts are with his family and loved ones at this extremely sad time!" Others who expressed their grief included Indian spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Hardik Pandya and former Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene.

Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan said Bryant was "like a little brother" to him. "Words can't describe the pain I'm feeling," Jordan said. "We used to talk often and I will miss those conversations very much."

Tributes to Bryant flooded in from former US presidents, pop stars and athletes from different sports, a sign of how the man known as the "Black Mamba" had transcended basketball.

"Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act," former US president Barack Obama wrote on Twitter. American football star Tom Brady wrote simply: "We miss you already Kobe."

Brazilian soccer star Neymar paid tribute to Bryant after scoring for his French club side Paris Saint-Germain, making the number 24 -- Bryant's old shirt number -- with his fingers. At the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, crowds of shocked fans gathered to pay tribute as the venue which witnessed many of Bryant's career highlights hosted the music industry's Grammy Awards.

Brazilian soccer star Neymar paid tribute to Bryant after scoring for his French club side Paris Saint-Germain, making the number 24 -Bryant's old shirt number -- with his fingers.

Inspired kids in India

Bryant was instrumental in inspiring kids to take up basketball in India among other places, said a former NBA India official.

"A true legend of the game, Kobe has been an inspiration to millions of sports fans across the world.

He was a great ambassador for the game of basketball and has been instrumental in inspiring kids to play the game across the world, including in India," Yannick Colaco, Co-Founder of FanCode, said.

Week-long mourning

Bryant will be mourned for a week in Italy where he spent much of his childhood, the Italian basketball federation (FIP) said on Monday.

A minute's silence will be observed before games before each age category to honour Kobe, who FIP president Giovanni Petrucci said "has been and will always be linked to Italy".

"It's a small but heartfelt and deserved gesture to honour the life and memory of Kobe Bryant, an absolute champion who always had Italy in his heart," Petrucci said.

Ultimate toughness: Woods

The mood at the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in Southern California quickly turned somber according to Rich Lerner, who was commenting for US television.

"Eerily quiet on the grounds of Torrey Pines," he said. "People had their heads down, looking at their cellphones trying to come to grips with the terrible reality. "This place was absolutely shaken."

Yet caddy Joey LaCava managed to keep the news from Tiger Woods, who knew Bryant and whose career for a long time ran parallel with the Laker great.

"I was trying to win the golf tournament," Woods said immediately after the round. "Joey realised that I was locked in on that and didn't want to distract me with that type of news."

"People were yelling, 'Do it for Mamba.' Now I understand," Woods said, referring to Bryant's nickname. "People yell things all the time, so I was just plodding along, doing my own thing."

"I grew up a diehard Laker fan. He was part of the most historic franchise in the NBA. Ultimate toughness. Ultimate competitor." Before relocating to Florida, Woods lived not far from Bryant just outside Los Angeles.

House of Kobe

A city in hoops-mad Philippines inaugurated a new community centre and basketball court named in honour of Kobe Bryant -- only hours before news of the NBA legend's death broke.

Locals had hoped that Bryant -- who died in a helicopter crash in California -- would one day step into what they called the "House of Kobe", a court adorned with wall-sized murals of his likeness.

Bryant has made at least five visits to the Philippines, always received by joyous crowds in a country where basketball -- not football -- is the national sports obsession.

"We hoped he would get in touch with us... We have a 'House of Kobe' for you," said Eric Martinez, the congressman behind the project in Valenzuela City, which is part of Manila's sprawl.

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