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NBA community mourns death of Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna

Mamba forever.

Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA lost one its biggest stars on Sunday, as Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning in Calabasas, California. Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna Marie Bryant was also killed in the crash, along with seven other people.

Bryant, the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft, accomplished everything a player could over the course of his 20-year career, winning five NBA championships — two of which he was named Finals MVP in — leading the league in scoring twice, appearing in 18 All-Star games and being named the league MVP in 2008. For a generation of basketball fans, he was the closest thing to Michael Jordan.

Many of those fans play in the NBA today, and those that didn’t grow up admiring him eventually learned to respect him because of his work ethic and pure skill. Bryant wasn’t just a Los Angeles basketball icon — he was and will always be an iconic figure in sports, one whose legacy is immortalized at Staples Center with not one, but two retired jerseys. He’s also expected to be inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this year.

Some of the most prominent names in the basketball community have taken to Twitter to mourn the death of the Mamba, including Bryant’s former teammates Pau Gasol and Shaquille O’Neal.

Other players and teams are taking their tributes to Bryant on the court. The NBA decided against cancelling today’s slate of games.

However, the tributes went beyond the basketball court on Sunday morning.

It’s unclear at this time how the Lakers will pay tribute to the man that devoted 20 years to their organization, but at the very least he’ll be honored before Tuesday night’s game against the LA Clippers. Beyond that, it wouldn’t be surprising to see them add a patch to their jerseys the same way they did when Jerry Buss passed away in 2013.

The Lakers and Clippers will tip-off at 7 p.m. PT on Tuesday.

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