Magic Johnson posted a touching tribute to Kobe Bryant on Sunday in the wake of Bryant's shocking death. The NBA legend was in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning, leaving the whole world in mourning. Johnson explained that Bryant was a talent both on and off the court.
"As I try to write this post, my mind is racing. I'm in disbelief and have been crying all morning over this devastating news that Kobe and his young daughter, Gigi have passed away in a helicopter crash," Johnson wrote. "Cookie and I are heartbroken."
He included two photos of Johnson with his daughter, Gianna, who was in the helicopter as well, according to CBS News. Gianna was just 13 years old.
"I love him, his family and what he stood for on the court and off the court," Johnson added.
Fans replied with their agreement, praising Johnson for his heartfelt words. His initial post picked up well over 100,000 likes, and fans responded with their own grief as well. As the evening wore on, Johnson shared more photos and more memories from his times with Bryant.
"My friend, a legend, husband, father, son, brother, Oscar winner and greatest Laker of all-time is gone. It's hard to accept. Kobe was a leader of our game, a mentor to both male and female players," he wrote.
My friend, a legend, husband, father, son, brother, Oscar winner and greatest Laker of all-time is gone. It’s hard to accept. Kobe was a leader of our game, a mentor to both male and female players. pic.twitter.com/NXsrXmCkkG— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 26, 2020
"He gave his knowledge, time, and talent to tutor so many at the youth level, collegiate level, & NBA & WNBA players," Johnson went on. "Words can't express the impact that he had on the game of basketball. I know basketball fans all over the world will miss him, especially the City of Los Angeles."
Johnson went on to praise Bryant's philanthropy — particularly his work with L.A.'s homeless population — and his commitment to fatherhood. He also cited the intersection of career and family as Bryant coached his daughter's team.
Bryant and Gianna were reportedly on their way to one of her basketball games when the crash occurred. Johnson was known to take helicopters whenever possible, hoping to avoid long hours in L.A. traffic. After years of accumulated injuries, long car rides reportedly caused flare-ups in his chronic pain.
Kobe and I shared so many special conversations about life and basketball. We had so much in common off the court. I used to love talking to him about Lakers basketball, being fathers and husbands and how much we loved Italy. I will miss those conversations and him so much. pic.twitter.com/PIv7obzr2x— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 26, 2020
Finally, Johnson turned his attention to Bryant's family. He is survived by his wife, Vanessa Laine Bryant, as well as three more daughters. Their youngest, Capri, was just born in June of 2019.
"Cookie and I are praying for Vanessa, his beautiful daughters Natalia, Bianka and Capri, as well as his parents Joe and Pam and his sisters," Johnson wrote. "We will always be here for the Bryant family."