Dallas Mavericks owner and Shark Tank star Mark Cuban posted a series of heartbreaking tweets Sunday following the deaths of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and Bryant's 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant. The Mavericks later announced they will be retiring Bryant's No. 24 in the basketball star's honor. Bryant and Gianna died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, along with seven others.
"Damn. RIP Mamba. May your memory be a blessing," Cuban wrote. "We can never forget how precious life is. How those who are special to you and never let them forget how deeply you love them."
Cuban later thanked everyone for reaching out, and advised his fans to remember to hug their family and never forget how precious life is.
"To all of my friends, thank you," Cuban wrote. "Each of you have shared part of yourself with me and made my life better. I have tried to do the same. If you were here I would hug you like I just hugged my family. It hurts that it takes a tragedy to remind us of our mortality. #hugyourfriends."
On Monday, Cuban pointed out how Bryant and Gianna's deaths have brought "our country closer together than anyone has in a generation," adding, "Their memory truly is a blessing that we should build on."
I hope we all remember that Kobe and Gianna have brought our country closer together than anyone has in a generation. Their memory truly is a blessing that we should build on.— Mark Cuban (@mcuban) January 27, 2020
Within hours of Bryant's death, Cuban and the Dallas Mavericks announced no player on the team will ever wear 24 again, even though Bryant did not play for the team.
"Kobe was an ambassador for our game, a decorated legend and a global icon. Above all, he was a loving and dedicated father," the team's statement read. "Kobe's legacy transcends basketball, and our organization has decided that the number 24 will never again be worn by a Dallas Maverick. Our hearts go out to all the lives lost and the families impacted by this terrible tragedy. We send our thoughts and prayers to Vanessa and the family, the Lakers organization, and Kobe Bryant fans everywhere."
Bryant spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers, where he wore numbers 8 and 24. When he retired in 2016, the Lakers immediately retired both numbers, making Bryant the only athlete in the NBA to have two numbers retired in his honor by the same team. Bryant wore 8 when he won his first three NBA championships with the Lakers, and donned 24 during his fourth and fifth championships.
"This is hitting me really hard," Mavericks great Dirk Nowitzki wrote in his own statement. "I will always remember coming home after games so I could watch you dominate in the fourth quarter! You inspired so many around the world, including me."
Nowitzki later added, "Deepest sympathies to Vanessa, the girls and all the friends and families of the lives lost today!"0comments
Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa and their other three daughters. Their youngest, Capri, was born just last summer.
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