This is how Toronto is paying tribute to Kobe Bryant after tragic helicopter crash
The tragic news that Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna were lost in a helicopter crash has completely shaken millions in the sports world and beyond it.
The 41-year-old basketball icon was on his way to one of Gianna's basketball games in Thousand Oaks, California on Sunday morning when his private helicopter crashed outside of Calabasas, killing all nine people on board.
Sending condolences to the family and friends of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, and all those lost in today’s tragic crash. Thank you to the @Raptors for honouring #KobeBryant at the start of today’s game. https://t.co/mRf0uj7nbu— John Tory (@JohnTory) January 26, 2020
Many Toronto figures, including Mayor John Tory, are publicly mourning the loss, expressing condolences across social media.
The CN Tower was illuminated in purple and gold last night, Bryant's team colours.
The city's Scotiabank Arena also paid tribute to the legend with its own in memoriam message.
The Toronto Raptors and the San Antonio Spurs took 24 seconds to honour Bryant — he wore jersey number 24 during his 20-year tenure with the L.A. Lakers — at an emotional game at San Antonio's AT&T Centre yesterday evening.
"We are all in shock," Raps player Marc Gasol said to press after the game."We get so deep in our jobs in our profession about contracts, points, minutes, all-stars, whatever, that [we] kind of forget what's really important in life and how it can all be gone in just an accident."
"He meant everything," added fellow Raptor Norman Powell. "A model of the old mentality of being an ultimate competitor, grinding, working day in and day out, sacrificing things to get to where you want be. I tried to implement that in my game... maximizing my God-given abilities, just like he did."
It’s hard to express the impact Kobe made on everyone in the basketball world & beyond. Growing up, I idolized him. His legacy will live on and continue to inspire people forever. 🐍🐐❤️ pic.twitter.com/LGnID6Klno— Matthew W. Thomas (@Theiceman_21) January 27, 2020
"It was a rough, really rough locker room," Raptors head coach Nick Nurse said of yesterday's game at a press conference. "[For] a lot of guys, it hit pretty close to home... It certainly wasn't a high-energy place before the game."
Many more public figures, both within sports and outside of it, have taken to Twitter and Instagram to talk about Bryant's legacy, from Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal to Barack Obama and Ellen Degeneres. Also, a number of Raptors players, like Matt Thomas and Serge Ibaka.
The Raptors issued a formal team statement about Bryant's passing, saying that the NBA is "united in grief and deeply saddened at the loss of one of the greatest players in our sport, who was taken far too soon."
Drake posted a photo of a custom coat he famously wore for Bryant's retirement back in 2016, along with a caption that simply read "it can't be" on Instagram shortly after the news broke. The post was followed by a number of related Instagram stories, one of which called Bryant a "super hero and a super father."
Bryant was an 18-time All-Star, household name, and all-around decent and talented human being known to many as The Black Mamba.
He had his own philanthropic foundation and donated to museums, schools, underprivileged youth and a number of international causes over the years, and was considered to be one of the best and most famous players in the history of professional basketball.
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