BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Maryland athletes and coaches shared stories and memories about LA Lakers legend Kobe Bryant after he died in a helicopter crash Sunday morning with his daughter Gianna and seven others.
Several former and current Ravens players took to social media to remember Bryant.
Backup quarterback Robert Griffin III tweeted Sunday: “Hurting like the rest of the world right now but not as much as Kobe’s Family. Everybody keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”
Hurting like the rest of the world right now but not as much as Kobe’s Family. Everybody keep them in your thoughts and prayers #RIPKobe
— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) January 26, 2020
Ravens player Willie Snead quote-tweeted Shaquille O’Neal’s tweet remembering Bryant saying, “Long Live” with a goat emoji.
— Willie Snead IV (@Willie_Snead4G) January 26, 2020
The news broke just before the Pro Bowl began Sunday afternoon, and Ravens player Mark Ingram said it was tough on both sides to get up and play the game after they heard.
“When you lose an icon, a great human being, a father, a husband, one of the best ever to play the game. He transformed the game, he transformed the world, great human changed many lives, so… there’s really no words man. It’s just, you think, you pray for the family that they be comforted, all those affected at this time man. And the world lost a great one today, it’s a tragedy, it’s devastating man and um, man it hurt really bad.” Ingram said.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 27, 2020
“It was really a downer for both teams, you hear that, somebody of that magnitude that positive that much of an influence worldwide globally, it was a downer on both teams man you could feel it. It was tough for us to come out here and get up for a game just hearing that devastating news.” Ingram said.
In a sideline interview at the Pro Bowl, Jackson said when he first got drafted Bryant signed a jersey for him.
“That’s a legend,” he said.
“That’s a legend. He did so much for the game of basketball. A lot of people looked to Kobe Bryant, including myself.”
Lamar Jackson on Kobe Bryant. pic.twitter.com/7guQmmGgAE
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) January 26, 2020
Former Ravens, including Torrey Smith, O.J. Brigance, Justin Forsett, reacted their shock and sadness.
Former Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith tweeted out in part, “Live life to the fullest.”
I turned 31 today and I’ve been thinking about life and how sudden things can come to an end. You don’t know how, you don’t know when, you just know it’s inevitable. When you get older you appreciate it because it’s a blessing to make it another year. Live life to the fullest.
— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) January 26, 2020
Stunned and saddened to hear of the passing of @kobebryant, his daughter, Gianna and the other passengers! God bless and comfort their family.
— O.J. Brigance (@OJBrigance) January 26, 2020
No not his daughters. I pray this is not true. My heart is weeping right now.
— Justin Forsett (@JForsett) January 26, 2020
Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin tweeted, “I’m so heartbroken” and shared photos of when he met Bryant.
Ovechkin said Bryant gave him a game-worn jersey and sneakers after a game in Los Angeles.
I’m so heartbroken. cant believe…Blessed to have chance to meet you. RIP Legend. pic.twitter.com/TlpRZdVpu7
— Alex Ovechkin (@ovi8) January 26, 2020
“He was a legend in the basketball world and the whole world. It’s tough,” Ovechkin said in an interview Sunday.
“He was a legend in the basketball world and the whole world. It’s tough.” —Alex Ovechkin on Kobe Bryant, who once presented the #Caps’ captain with a game-worn jersey and sneakers after a game in L.A. pic.twitter.com/RQPZFFURem
— Tarik El-Bashir (@Tarik_ElBashir) January 26, 2020
Baltimore Orioles players remembered Bryant as well, sending prayers and condolences to their families.
RIP to both Mambas!!! Prayers to all pic.twitter.com/A77tXdMbCq
— Dwight Smith Jr (@DSmittyJr) January 26, 2020
— Cedric Mullins (@cedmull30) January 26, 2020
I speak for myself and athletes around the world when I say Kobe Bryant was the main reason for a lot of my work ethic and mentality on the field and the court. He was one of a kind and nobody outworked him. I learned so much from him and will forever be grateful. Thank you Kobe
— D.L. Hall (@dl_hall33) January 27, 2020
Maryland’s basketball community was also stunned by the news Sunday.
The Maryland Women’s Basketball Team tweeted out their condolences Sunday evening: “Our hearts are with the Bryant family after the passing of Kobe and Gianna.”
Our hearts are with the Bryant family after the passing of Kobe and Gianna.
Thankful for the years of inspiration, service to others and support for the women’s basketball community. pic.twitter.com/C1N0ilbHUe
— Maryland Women’s Basketball (@umdwbb) January 26, 2020
Former Maryland Terp and NBA player Keith Booth tweeted out his disbelief on Bryant’s death, as well as Bryant’s daughter- who was on the helicopter when it crashed- on Sunday.
#UtterDisbelief #RIPKobe his daughter #GiGi and all the souls tragically loss today. Praying for strength for his wife Vanessa & the entire Bryant family.#MambaMentality4Ever pic.twitter.com/RCNOmLwA1e
— Keith Booth (@KeithBooth) January 26, 2020
Washington Wizards Coach Brooks called Bryant “obviously one of the great sports legends.”
“It’s a tough day for everybody. He’s obviously one of the great sports legends.”
– Coach Brooks on the passing of Kobe Bryant pic.twitter.com/UdGeXRoPWS
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) January 26, 2020
Mystics Coach Thibault also tweeted out “heartbreaking news” in part, saying that no day can be taken for granted.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the entire Bryant family on this heartbreaking news. We can never take each day for granted.
— Mike Thibault (@coachthibault) January 26, 2020
Former Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps said: “My heart hurts to hear the news… thoughts and prayers to Vanessa and family.”
Bryant’s high school in Pennsylvania, Lower Merion High School, also reacted to his death at a press conference outside of the school’s Kobe Bryant Gymnasium.