Maharlika Pilipinas Basketball League owner Manny Pacquiao said it right in his tweet when Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash early Monday in Calabasas, California.

“The world lost a legend today,” the eight-division world boxing champion and former Philippine Basketball Association player said.

The entire Philippine basketball community, in general, was saddened by the untimely death of Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others in the helicopter crash.

“Too young, too much life ahead of him.”

The helicopter reportedly crashed in foggy conditions in a remote field off Las Virgenes around 10 a.m.

“Too young, too much life ahead of him. Tragic,” Ginebra coach Tim Cone said in his own tweet.

The PBA, through a statement, said “the PBA mourns the passage of a man who has touched the lives of millions.”

Meanwhile, Nueva Ecija Rice Vanguards head of basketball operations Jai Reyes recalled one time when Bryant actually called to wish him luck.

“One time before a game, coach [Joe Bryant, Kobe’s father] was on the phone in the dugout. He went up to me and said, ‘Say what’s up to this guy.’ He gave me the phone and I said, ‘What’s up?’ The guy said what’s up back and said, ‘Good luck on your game.’ I had just talked to Kobe,” Reyes, who played under Joe Bryant with defunct Asean Basketball League team Bangkok Cobras in 2012, said in his own tweet.

The local hoop circuit also paid its tribute to Kobe Bryant, who helped shape the current global basketball landscape.

“He gave so much to all of us and still had so much more to give.”  

“He gave so much to all of us and still had so much more to give,” Cone further said.

“The impact and legacy he leaves behind will last forever,” added Pacquiao.

The PBA’s statement added: “Kobe was an exceptional basketball player, but beyond his athletic skills, he was known for his caring heart and love of family. His life was an inspiration and a lesson to everyone that with hard work, dedication, and self-sacrifice, nothing is impossible.”

The former Los Angeles Laker superstar visited the Philippines a total of seven times, the most recent was in 2016 during a promotional tour for Nike.

“He was well-loved by his fans,” presidential spokesperson Sal Panelo said in a statement.

“On the hard court, he was a sight to behold with his dexterity and accuracy in sinking that ball in the rim. He was a master of his craft,” Panelo added.


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