Jayhawks react to death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant
Multiple reports, including one from The Associated Press and ESPN.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski, have indicated that NBA legend Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash on Sunday afternoon in California.
The news rocked the sports world, and people from all walks of life, and across all sports, hit social media to pay tribute to Bryant and mourn his passing.
That included several Kansas basketball players.
Tweeted KU point guard Devon Dotson, in two separate Tweets three minutes apart: “Plz plz plz no.” And “This cannot be real... no way no way.”
Freshman Jalen Wilson posted a black and white photo of Bryant walking toward the basket, with the caption, “Mamba Mentality Forever... RIP.”
Bryant’s nickname and the brand he had built while conducting all of his post-basketball business endeavors was The Black Mamba.
Silvio De Sousa also posted two separate times, with the first simply saying, “No no no.” The second Tweet read, “I’m hurttttt... No way KOBE is gone.”
Freshman Christian Braun, 16 hours earlier, had ReTweeted what will go down as Bryant’s final post, a congratulatory message to James sent out to his 15 million followers.
“Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames,” it began. “Much respect my brother #33644.”
The hashtag referenced James’ updated point total, which moved him one point in front of Bryant into third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list.
Kansas coach Bill Self had not been around Bryant much, but it was clear from his reaction that Self was well aware of Bryant’s impact on basketball, both during his 20-year career and after.
“I grew up idolizing Larry (Bird) and Magic (Johnson) and our players, since I’ve been here, have grown up idolizing Kobe,” Self told the Journal-World. “Everyone respected his talent, competitive spirit and the difference he made, and was going to make, in peoples’ lives moving forward. A very sad time for so many and everyone that follows our sport.”
Former KU great and longtime Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce, who waged countless battles with Bryant during his career, simply Tweeted a emoji of a sad face, before adding in a separate Tweet, "This is not real right now."
Another notable Tweet came from former KU center and current NBA superstar Joel Embiid. It read:
“Man, I don’t even know where to start. I started playing ball because of KOBE after watching the 2010 Finals. I had never watched ball before that and that Finals was the turning point of my life. I WANTED TO BE LIKE KOBE. I’m so FREAKING SAD right now!!!! RIP LEGEND.”