Former NFL quarterback and activist Colin Kaepernick paid tribute to Kobe Bryant. The Los Angeles Lakers legend died in a helicopter crash on Sunday in Calabasas, California, along with his daughter, 13-year-old Gianna Bryant. Six others, including the pilot, died in the crash.
"I will remember Kobe as a basketball legend, a father & a man," Kaepernick wrote on Twitter late Sunday night. "Watching him & Gigi share their relationship with us is something I won't ever forget. My heart aches for his wife, children & family. I hope the waves of love being sent to his family can ease some of the pain they feel."
Kaepernick is the latest member of the NFL community to honor Bryant.
"Man not Kobe... Prayers to his family and friends!" Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who is playing in Super Bowl LIV next weekend, tweeted. He added "RIP Mamba."
"We miss you already Kobe," New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady added.
"The National Football League extends its deepest condolences to the friends and families of all those who lost their lives in today's accident, including NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Giana," the NFL said in its own statement. "Kobe was an extraordinary athlete who thrilled and entertained sports fans around the world for a generation. Our thoughts are with the Bryant family, Kobe's fans, his teammates, the Lakers organization and the NBA."
Bryant and Gianna were on their way to the Mamba Academy for basketball practice at the time of the crash. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department confirmed there were six other people on the helicopter and there were no survivors.
Bryant's wife, Vanessa, was not on the helicopter. He is survived by Vanessa and their three other daughters, Natalia, 17; Bianka, 3; and Capri, 7 months.
"The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. “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," Silver continued. "He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna. We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vanessa, and their family, the Lakers organization and the entire sports world."
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