Earlier today, the world was stunned to learn of the sudden and tragic death of global basketball icon Kobe Bryant. The former Los Angeles Lakers guard reportedly died in a helicopter accident, along with his 13-year old daughter Gianna and seven other passengers who have yet to be named, en route to a basketball game at Mamba Sports Academy in California. Kobe and Gianna are survived by their wife/mother Vanessa, as well as daughters/sisters Natalia, Bianca and Capri.
As expected, the outpouring of reactions and emotions has been heavy, including a statement from Bryant's friends and family at Nike. Bryant famously signed with Nike in 2003 after departing Adidas and playing a season as a sneaker free agent. Since then, he's introduced the revolutionary Hyperdunk franchise, led one of the greatest signature sneaker lines of all-time and had a hand in developing performance technology for the company in basketball and beyond. His importance to the company is reflected in its statement.
"Along with millions of athletes and fans throughout the world, we are devastated by today’s tragic news.
We extend our deepest sympathies to those closest to Kobe, especially his family and friends. He was one of the greatest athletes of his generation and has had an immeasurable impact on the world of sport and the community of basketball. He was a beloved member of the Nike family. We will miss him greatly. Mamba forever."