The tributes keep pouring in.
On Sunday, the world was rocked by the news of the tragic passing of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant and seven other passengers in a horrific helicopter accident. Many have shared their condolences and deep sadness over the loss, including his wife Vanessa Bryant who recently shared a statement on the passing of her husband and daughter.
Now, Kobe's longtime friend and the owner of the Lakers Jeanie Buss has released a statement on her Instagram about the tragic loss of one of her good friends and shared a story about how he helped her regain her purpose.
"Kobe, I don't know how to express what you mean to me, my family and the Los Angeles Lakers. My father loved you like a son, which makes us family. When you invited me to lunch shortly after my father passed away, I was struggling to find motivation and purpose. Kobe, you brought Gianna with you to spend some time with me," she wrote alongside a picture of her with the athlete and his family.
"You explained that you wanted to show her that women can be leaders in the NBA, just like the men. At first, it seemed like an action of a devoted father setting an example for his daughter. But in actuality – and I am positively sure you knew EXACTLY what you were doing – what you did was give me the inspiration and strength I was searching for," she continued.
"I reflect on that day often and it makes me smile and it makes me strong. I call on that memory whenever I feel down and need a bit of courage. For everything you did on the court that filled me with so much joy and love, for all the lives you changed through basketball itself, it was that day with Gigi that reignited my drive and determination. Vanessa, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri - I am so sorry for your loss. We are grateful to have you in our lives and we will always be here for you. "
Jeanie also reflected on the lives of the other seven passengers lost during the accident. John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Christina Mauser, and pilot Ara Zobayan.
"To the families that also lost loved ones on Sunday, the entire Laker family mourns with you. Laker Nation - we are one family grieving the loss of people we all loved dearly," she wrote. "We will mourn together, cry together but we will also heal together, love together and win TOGETHER. We love you. Kobe - that's what you made you so unbelievably special. You not only inspired us towards greatness, you showed us the way."
To learn how to help families affected by the tragedy you can go to MambaOnThree.org.