The Los Angeles Lakers said it is a "very difficult time for all of us" as the NBA franchise expressed their gratitude for the outpouring of support following the tragic death of Kobe Bryant.

Lakers great Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with seven others in Calabasas, California.

Tuesday's NBA showdown between city rivals the Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center has been postponed as the world mourns the death of the five-time champion and 2008 MVP.

The Lakers released their first statement on Monday since the tragedy and it read: "In consultation with the NBA League office, the game scheduled between the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers for Tuesday, January 28 will be postponed and scheduled for a future date.

"The Los Angeles Lakers would like to thank all of you for the tremendous outpouring of support and condolences. This is a very difficult time for all of us.

"We continue to support the Bryant family and will share more information as it is available."

Bryant, who entered the league with the Lakers in 1996, is regarded as one of the all-time greats following a career spanning 20 years in Los Angeles before retiring in 2016.

An 18-time All-Star and two-time Finals MVP, Bryant won a pair of Olympic gold medals, helping United States to glory in 2008 and 2012.

The NBA showdown between city rivals the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers has been postponed after the tragic death of Kobe Bryant.

Lakers legend Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with seven others in Calabasas, California.

Sunday and Monday's games have gone ahead as tributes continue to pour in for the five-time champion and 2008 MVP, who spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers.

However, Tuesday's blockbuster clash at Staples Center will be rescheduled at a later date, with Los Angeles reeling following Bryant's sudden death.

"The decision was made out of respect for the Lakers organisation, which is deeply grieving the tragic loss of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people in a helicopter crash on Sunday," the NBA said in a statement.

Bryant, who entered the league with the Lakers in 1996, is regarded as one of the all-time greats following a career spanning two decades at Staples Center.

An 18-time All-Star and two-time Finals MVP, Bryant won a pair of Olympic gold medals, helping United States to glory in 2008 and 2012.

LeBron James and the Lakers (36-10) top the Western Conference, ahead of the Utah Jazz and Kawhi Leonard's third-placed Clippers (33-14).

Nick Kyrgios mourned the loss of Kobe Bryant but said the NBA legend's achievements were an inspiration to him during his Australian Open clash with Rafael Nadal.

Home hope Kyrgios walked onto the court wearing a Los Angeles Lakers jersey adorned with the number eight Bryant made famous at the start of his two-decade career with the franchise. 

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday.

Taking to Rod Laver Arena the following day, an emotional Kyrgios succumbed to a 6-3 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4) loss against the world number one, but revealed Bryant's passing had been on his mind.

"I never met Kobe but basketball is practically my life. I watch it every day. I've been following it for as long as I can remember," said Kyrgios.

"When I woke up to the news, it was pretty emotional. It was pretty heavy, like, all day. Obviously I was having basketball on at my house, watching the games. It was heavy. It's just tough. It's horrible news.

"If you look at the things he stood for, what he wanted to be remembered by, I felt like, if anything, it helped me tonight. When I was down a break in the fourth, I was definitely thinking about it. I fought back."

Kyrgios is a fan of the Boston Celtics, a side who were often on the receiving end of Bryant's brilliance, but the 24-year-old had long admired the five-time NBA champion's skill and dedication to his craft.

"I'm a Celtic fan. When I saw Kobe do what he does, break the hearts of so many Celtics fans, it was tough to see," he said.

"I don't think they make them like him anymore. He was different, the way he trained, the way he did things, the way he played. He was special."

Nick Kyrgios paid tribute to Kobe Bryant before his Australian Open fourth-round clash with Rafael Nadal on Monday.

The Australian, a huge basketball fan, wore a Los Angeles Lakers jersey with the number eight Bryant made famous to begin his career.

A visibly emotional Kyrgios received a fine ovation as he entered Rod Laver Arena in the jersey.

Lakers great Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday.

The sporting world celebrated and mourned Bryant after his shock death.

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were among the football stars paying their respects, while the NBA world mourned Bryant's passing.

The NBA came together to mourn and honour Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna on a solemn Sunday.

Though all eight games went ahead as scheduled, a dark shadow clouded the on-court action after Los Angeles Lakers legend Bryant, 13-year-old Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California around 10am local time.

Games across the league began with intentional 24-second violations as players recognised the number Bryant wore throughout the second half of his illustrious career, a number Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said his team would never use again.

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young took to the floor in the number eight jersey the five-time NBA champion adopted following his arrival at the Lakers in 1996 and proceeded to do him proud, dropping 45 points and 14 assists in a 152-133 win over the Washington Wizards.

"One of the last conversations we had, he was just telling me how much he's seen my game progress, being happy for me, saying how proud he was of me and how he wants me to continue to be a role model for kids growing up," an emotional Young later told a news conference.

The San Antonio Spurs lost to the Toronto Raptors 110-106 but head coach Gregg Popovich summed up the mood, telling reporters: "Good game. Tough loss. Who cares? Everyone's pretty emotional with the tragedy about Kobe."

Zion reflects after major milestone

Amid the mourning emerged some uplifting performances befitting one of the league's greatest ever scorers.

Zion Williamson marked his third NBA appearance with a first double-double, the number one overall draft pick contributing 21 points and 11 rebounds in the New Orleans Pelicans' 123-108 victory against the Boston Celtics.

"Kobe meant a lot to me growing up. I had both jerseys, the eight and the 24," Williamson said. "It's tough. I was on the way to the arena when I got the news. I just send my prayers to his family."

Damian Lillard became the first player in Portland Trail Blazers history to score 40 or more points in three successive games, the point guard hitting 50 on 14-of-23 shooting in a 139-129 win over the Indiana Pacers.

Kawhi Leonard put up a game-high 31 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Los Angeles Clippers past the Orlando Magic 112-97.

"I know he would have wanted him me to come out here and try to ball and still just be great," he told ESPN. "That's what I tried to do. Everybody is sad."

Kyrie sits out

Madison Square Garden, where Bryant memorably scored 61 points in a single game in 2009, dimmed its lights and fell silent before the Brooklyn Nets' 110-97 loss to the New York Knicks.

Kyrie Irving was a notable absentee, the Nets guard having shared a close relationship with his former mentor.

Another of the NBA's new generation of stars, Ben Simmons, said the world had "lost a legend".

"Kobe Bryant was someone who I looked up to, a fierce competitor, a champion, an icon," Simmons tweeted.

 

Respects paid in New Orleans

The Pelicans and the Celtics were among the teams who each took 24-second violations to honour Bryant.

Sunday's results

Denver Nuggets 117-110 Houston Rockets
Toronto Raptors 110-106 San Antonio Spurs
Atlanta Hawks 152-133 Washington Wizards
Memphis Grizzlies 114-109 Phoenix Suns
New Orleans Pelicans 123-108 Boston Celtics
New York Knicks 110-97 Brooklyn Nets
Los Angeles Clippers 112-97 Orlando Magic
Portland Trail Blazers 139-129 Indiana Pacers

 

Rockets at Jazz

Monday brings the chance to focus on a big game in the Western Conference, with the second-placed Utah Jazz (32-13) to host the sixth-placed Houston Rockets (28-17).

Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Byrant died suddenly in Calabasas, California on Sunday.

Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash, with seven other reported casualties.

Tributes for five-time NBA champion and 2008 MVP Bryant have poured in across all sports.

After Bryant's shock passing, we look back at his memorable farewell appearance against the Utah Jazz on April 13, 2016, which capped a glittering 20-year career.

 

60 - Bryant's final point total. No player in the NBA scored as many as the Lakers guard did in one game throughout that season.

50 - The amount of shooting attempts by Bryant, who eclipsed Michael Jordan's record of 49 shots against the Orlando Magic in 1993. Bryant took 15 more shots than the rest of his team-mates combined.

16 - Unassisted points recorded. Bryant took control in his Hollywood goodbye - his final seven baskets coming without an assist.

18 - Contested shots made. Bryant nailed 18 of 40 shots with a defender within 3.5 feet against the Jazz.

22 - Points scored by Bryant in the paint. Having great success with layups, he also finished six-of-21 from three-point range.

13 - Unanswered points posted in the final two minutes in LA. The Lakers trailed by 10 points with 2:36 remaining before Bryant sparked and completed the rally.

2 - Turnovers committed in a remarkable outing. Bryant took care of the ball, despite his record amount of shooting attempts.

4 - Assists tallied by 'the Black Mamba'. Jordan Clarkson was the main beneficiary as he received three dimes from Bryant.

0 - Shots made in the first six minutes of the game as nerves troubled Bryant in the opening exchanges. He missed his first five shots.

7 - It had been seven years since Bryant's previous 60-point game - the 18-time All-Star going off with 61 against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in 2009.

18,997 - Fans in attendance for Bryant's farewell at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Dirk Nowitzki paid a heartfelt tribute to his one-time NBA Finals rival Kobe Bryant following the Los Angeles Lakers legend's sudden death.

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among nine people killed when a helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California on Sunday.

The five-time NBA champion spent 20 seasons with the Lakers, a record for longevity with a single team that stood until Nowitzki entered his 21st campaign with the Dallas Mavericks in 2018-19.

Nowitzki, now retired, memorably led Dallas to a series sweep of Bryant's Lakers in the 2011 playoffs, en route to the franchise's sole championship.

The Mavs announced they would retire the number 24 jersey Bryant wore during the second half of his career and their favourite son shared his sorrow in a social media post.

"This is hitting me really hard," Nowitzki wrote in a statement addressed to 'Mamba'.

"I will always remember coming home after games so I could watch you dominate the in the fourth quarter! You inspired so many around the world, including me.

"You will always be missed. You will always be remembered. You will always be loved. Rest in peace with your angel Gigi.

"Deepest sympathies to Vanessa, the girls and all the friends and families of the lives lost today!"

German forward and 2007 MVP Nowitzki was drafted two years after Bryant and the pair went on to play a combined 2,868 regular season games.

Kobe Bryant transcended the game of basketball after entering the NBA in 1996.

The Los Angeles Lakers legend provided highlight after highlight up until his retirement in 2016, with staggering point hauls.

Tragically, the five-time NBA champion and 2008 MVP and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

Following his sudden passing, we look at Bryant's five greatest games with the Lakers, where he spent his entire 20-year career.

 

65 points - March 16, 2007 v Portland Trail Blazers

Against the Trail Blazers at Staples Center, Bryant came close to reaching the career-high 81 points he had recorded just over a year earlier. The superstar guard lit up the Blazers with 65 points as the Lakers won 116-111. Bryant shot 23-of-39, including 11-of-12 from the free-throw line, while he also made eight three-pointers.

Nate McMillan coached Portland that day and following Sunday's heartbreaking news, the-now Indiana Pacers coach told reporters: "I've seen it firsthand. He lit us up and I remember, he was shooting threes and just on fire, and we had him in a trap, deep corner, he had nowhere to go, should have passed the ball. He's facing his bench and he just turns and shoots it and it goes in. He really became like Michael [Jordan], in the sense that when you watched him play, could he do it again? Could he create that magic again in the fourth quarter? And he did."

61 points - February 2, 2009 v New York Knicks

Madison Square Garden hosted one of Bryant's greatest performances almost 11 years ago. At the world-famous arena in New York, 'the Black Mamba' posted 61 points - a venue record for a visiting player - against the Knicks, who lost 126-117 to the Lakers. On 19-of-31 shooting, Bryant finished with three assists and one block. He scored 34 points in the first half alone en route to the record, which was matched by Houston Rockets star James Harden in 2019.

"Tonight was one of the nights he kind of showed why he's going to go down in history," Lakers team-mate Lamar Odom said after the game.

62 points - December 20, 2005 v Dallas Mavericks

Three quarters were all that Kobe needed to embarrass the Mavericks. Bryant outscored Dallas 62-61 at the end of the third quarter in Los Angeles as the Lakers eased to a 112-90 victory. The Mavericks were one of the best teams that season, going on to reach the NBA Finals before succumbing to the Miami Heat. However, the Mavericks were schooled by the unstoppable Bryant, who shot 18-of-31 from the field and 22-of-25 from the free-throw line. He sat out the entire fourth quarter.

"It was just one of those nights," Bryant told reporters as he reflected on the game in 2016. "Yes [I could have scored 80 points that night]. It sounds funny to say, but yes, I could have."

60 points - April 13, 2016 v Utah Jazz 

Bryant farewelled basketball in the only way he knew how, with an exclamation mark. It was a true Hollywood goodbye as Bryant capped a career - spanning two decades - by scoring 60 final-game points in a 101-96 victory over the Utah Jazz at Staples Center. Bryant drained 23 points in the fourth quarter, posting his first 50-point game since February 2009. 

"It's hard to believe it happened this way," Bryant, who played 42 minutes and took attempted a career-high 50 shots, said. "I'm still shocked about it…. The perfect ending would have been a championship. But tonight was [me] trying to go out, play hard and try to put on a show as much as I possibly could. It felt good to be able to do that one last time."

81 points - January 22, 2006 v Toronto Raptors

The highlight of a stellar career and the night Bryant threatened to surpass Wilt Chamberlain. Kobe played 1,346 NBA games but he was well and truly in the zone against the Raptors, scoring 81 points - just 19 short of Chamberlain's legendary 100-point outing in 1962. Bryant produced 48 minutes of pure brilliance to lead the Lakers past the Raptors 122-104. It was a display of efficiency as Bryant's outburst featured a 60.9 shooting percentage from the field and 53.8 per cent from beyond the arc.

"Not even in my dreams," Bryant said. "That was something that just happened. It's tough to explain. It's just one of those things."

The Dallas Mavericks will retire the number 24 jersey in honour of Kobe Bryant after the Los Angeles Lakers great's sudden death. 

Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died following a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver confirmed.

A five-time NBA champion with the Lakers, 2008 MVP Bryant is regarded as one of the all-time greats following 20 years in Los Angeles, where the 41-year-old has two jerseys retired at Staples Center.

The Mavericks - the Lakers' Western Conference rivals - paid the ultimate tribute to 18-time All-Star Bryant.

"We are shocked and saddened by the devastating news of the passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna," Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said in a statement.

"Kobe was an ambassador for our game, a decorated legend and a global icon. Above all, he was a loving and dedicated father.

"Kobe's legacy transcends basketball, and our organisation has decided that the number 24 will never again be worn by a Dallas Maverick.

"Our hearts go out to all the lives lost and the families impacted by this terrible tragedy. We send our thoughts and prayers to Vanessa and the family, the Lakers organisation and Kobe Bryant fans everywhere."

Bryant and the Lakers enjoyed some memorable clashes with the Mavericks in the west.

The Mavericks claimed their only championship in 2011 after sweeping Bryant's Lakers in the Western Conference semi-finals.

Bryant averaged 23.3 points, 3.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists for the Lakers in that series.

Rafael Nadal led tributes from the ATP Tour following the tragic death of Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant.

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died following a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver confirmed.

Five-time NBA champion Bryant transcended basketball after his selection in the 1996 draft, going on to spend his entire 20-year career with the Lakers, where he claimed two Finals MVPs to go with his 2008 Most Valuable Player honour.

As the sporting world mourns his death, 19-time grand slam champion and world number one Rafael Nadal tweeted: "I woke up this morning with the horrible news of the tragic death of one of the greatest sportsman in the world. Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and other passengers. My condolences to his wife and families. I am in shock."

Rod Laver - one of the greatest tennis players of all time with 11 major titles - wrote: "Terribly sad to wake up to this news today. RIP Kobe Bryant. Too young. Deepest condolences to family and friends of the sporting legend."

Australian Open champion Novak Djokovic had only spoken about Bryant - who attended last year's US Open - and his impact last week.

Prior to Sunday's fourth-round win over Diego Schwartzman at Melbourne Park, 16-time slam champion Djokovic provided an insight into Bryant following a difficult spell in 2018, which saw the Serbian star drop out of the top 20 due to an elbow injury.

"Kobe has been one of my mentors," Djokovic told ESPN. "I've had several phone conversations with him and also of course when we see each other live in the past couple of years. 

"When I was going through the injury with my elbow and struggling to mentally and emotionally handle all of these different things that were happening to me and dropping in the rankings and then having to work my way up, he was one of the people who was really there for me to give me some very valuable advice and guidelines to kind of believe and trust in myself, trust the process that I'll be back.

"I'm very grateful to him for being there for me, for being very supportive. I love Kobe, who doesn't? He's an amazing guy and one of the best basketball players and athletes of all-time."

Gregg Popovich shared a "deep sense of loss" and Doc Rivers battled tears as two of the NBA's most recognisable coaches addressed Kobe Bryant's death.

Los Angeles Lakers legend Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver confirmed their deaths after the news was initially reported by American outlet TMZ.

Nine people were believed to have been killed in the incident, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced. There were no survivors.

The San Antonio Spurs were among the first teams to take to the court after the news emerged and head coach Popovich said their sorrow would stretch far and wide.

"Everybody's pretty emotional about the tragedy with Kobe," Popovich told reporters after a 110-106 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

"All of us know what a great player he was, but he went beyond great playing. He was a competitor that goes unmatched. It's what made him as a player so attractive to everybody, that focus, that competitiveness, that will to win.

"Even more importantly than that, we all feel a deep sense of loss for what he meant to all of us, in so many ways. So many millions of people loved him for so many different reasons. It's just a tragic thing.

"We all think about the family and the process they're going to be going through right now. That's where our thoughts should be."

Los Angeles Clippers coach Rivers retired from playing the season before Bryant debuted and struggled through an emotional news conference prior to his team's game against the Orlando Magic.

"The news is just devastating to everybody who knew him a long time," he said. "He means a lot to me, obviously. He was such a great opponent. It's what you want in sports.

"He had that DNA that very few athletes can ever have. I was getting to know him more since he retired. This is a tough one.

"The news is just devastating for [wife] Vanessa and his family. So many people he touched. Looking at my young players and how emotional they are, they didn't know him and that tells you how far his reach was."

Cristiano Ronaldo has labelled Kobe Bryant a "true legend" after the Los Angeles Lakers great died in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

Bryant, along with his daughter Gianna, passed away along with seven others after the helicopter he was travelling in crashed near the Californian city of Calabasas in Los Angeles County.

Figures from across the world of sport paid tribute to the former Lakers star – a five-time NBA champion.

While Neymar dedicated one of his goals for Paris Saint-Germain against Lille to the 41-year-old and Lionel Messi also hailed Bryant, Ronaldo posted his condolences to Twitter.

"So sad to hear the heartbreaking news of the deaths of Kobe and his daughter Gianna," Ronaldo tweeted.

"Kobe was a true legend and inspiration to so many. Sending my condolences to his family and friends and the families of all who lost their lives in the crash. RIP Legend."

"You were a genius like few others". That was the message from Barcelona captain Lionel Messi after the tragic death of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died following a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver confirmed.

Five-time NBA champion Bryant transcended basketball after his selection in the 1996 draft, going on to spend his entire 20-year career with the Lakers.

Football superstar and six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi joined the list of mourners, using Instagram to write: "I have no words… all my love for Kobe's family and friends.

"It was a pleasure to meet you and share good times together. You were a genius like few others."

Bryant was the face of the Lakers, even after his retirement in 2016.

The guard earned MVP honours in 2008, while he was named the Most Valuable Player in the 2009 and 2010 NBA Finals.

Bryant was also an 18-time All-Star to go with numerous other accolades, including two Olympic Games gold medals with the United States.

Tiger Woods called it "a shocker" to learn his friend Kobe Bryant had died in a helicopter crash.

Golf's 15-time major winner is an ardent Los Angeles Lakers fan and paid tribute to his fellow global sporting superstar.

Woods learned of the news after completing his final round at the Farmers Insurance Open in San Diego on Sunday.

Bryant was one of nine people on board a helicopter that crashed at approximately 10am in Los Angeles County, California, local authorities said.

His daughter, Gianna, also died in the tragedy, the NBA announced.

Bryant, who won five NBA championships with the Lakers and piled up personal accolades, was nicknamed 'Mamba', and golf fans had been urging an oblivious Woods to produce a magical round in the basketball great's memory.

"I didn't really understand why the people were saying, 'Do it for Mamba'," Woods said.

"But now I understand. It's a shocker for everyone. I'm unbelievably sad."

Woods said Bryant was an inspiration as a player.

"He brought it each and every night on both ends of the floor," Woods told CBS. "Not too many guys can say that throughout NBA history.

"He locked up on D [defense], obviously he was dominant on the offensive side, but anytime he was in the game he'd take on their best player and just shut him down for all 48 minutes and that was one of the more impressive things I think in his entire career.

"When he ruptured his Achilles and went to the foul line and made his shots, that's tough."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.