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Michael Jordan Issues Statement on Death of His 'Little Brother' Kobe Byrant

By Zachary Holt

The untimely and unfortunate death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in a helicopter crash on Sunday has undoubtedly sent shockwaves throughout the world. Although Bryant was no longer playing in the NBA, he was just catching stride in the next steps of his life, post-basketball. His philanthropy work and business investments were beginning to take off, not to mention, he won an Oscar last year for a documentary he created. Regardless, the word is hurting and will continue to do so for some time. In the wake of the horrible news, the great Michael Jordan issued a statement on the loss of his 'little brother'.

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Michael Jordan Issues Statement in Lieu of the Loss of His 'Little Brother'

Gettyimages | Vince Bucci

It's not widely debated that Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player to have ever lived, but he felt compelled to address not only the loss of Bryant, but the type of player he was, offering high praise as 'one of the greats of the game and a creative force'.

"I am in shock over the tragic news of Kobe’s and Gianna’s passing. Words can’t describe the pain I’m feeling. I loved Kobe – he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often, and I will miss those conversations very much," Jordan began.

"He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force. Kobe was also an amazing dad who loved his family deeply – and took great pride in his daughter’s love for the game of basketball."

"Yvette joins me in sending my deepest condolences to Vanessa, the Lakers organisation and basketball fans around the world."

Former Teammate, Shaquille O'Neal, Tweets Statement Along with Pictures

Gettyimages | Kevork Djansezian

Jordan wasn't the only Hall-of-Famer to come out and offer their thoughts on Kobe's legacy and the subsequent vacuum his loss has created. Shaquille O'Neal, better known as Shaq, took to social media to share his condolences. Both Shaq and Kobe were teammates on the Lakers years ago, and since had had a falling out between the two. Luckily, though, they had made amends and were once again friends with each other.

O'Neal tweeted four different pictures of the two together, along with the caption, "There’s no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of loosing my neice Gigi & my brother @kobebryant I love u and u will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW [sic]."

Legend Magic Johnson Pays His Tributes to Bryant and His Family

Gettyimages | Harry How

Another Lakers great, Magic Johnson, tried to compose his thoughts in a series of tweets, but seemed to have trouble from the wake of the horrific news on Sunday. In a first tweet, the legend wrote, "As I try to write this post, my mind is racing." He followed it with, "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. Cookie and I are heartbroken."

Eventually, Magic was able to concoct a statement sharing, "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 was such an icon but also did so much for LA. He was passionate about serving the homeless and was an advocate for women’s basketball. Coaching his daughter’s basketball team brought him so much happiness…" he continued.

Johnson finished with a short and sweet message sharing his love for Kobe, along with the two different numbers he was known for playing with during his career. "We love you forever. #8 #24," he concluded.

President Obama Releases Statement on Death of Kobe Bryant

Gettyimages | Chip Somodevilla

Countless public figures have also taken to social media to express their condolences and sadness for Bryant's wife, Vanessa, and their three remaining children. One of those people was former president, Barack Obama. He tweeted out a message sharing his sadness resulting from the tragic death and offering sympathy to Vanessa and the rest of the Bryant family.

"Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act," Obama wrote. "To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day."

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