The world lost one of its greatest and most accomplished athletes in Kobe Bryant who tragically passed away alongside his daughter Gianna Maria Onoren in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, Sunday morning (Jan. 26). The 41-year-old is one of the most decorated NBA players of all-time earning a total of five NBA Championships, two Olympic Gold medals, eighteen NBA All-Star honors, and one Most Valuable Player Award. However, while his accomplishments might be revered by the general public and basketball enthusiasts, the people that were closest to him are immeasurably more grief-stricken by his tragic death. Especially, his longtime teammate, friend, and brother, Shaquille O’Neal.
Shaq took to his Instagram account this afternoon to post a picture of the two during their early days in purple and gold and briefly expressed his feelings about the loss of former Laker-teammate, Kobe Bryant, in a caption stating:
“There are no words to express the pain I’m going through now with this tragic and sad moment of losing my niece Gigi & my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you and you will be missed. My condolences goes out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. IM SICK RIGHT NOW!”
While the NBA community and others mourn the death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gigi, and all of those aboard the helicopter that crashed, the Bryant family is without its leader and Shaq is without his brother. One half of basketball’s greatest one-two punch combo is no longer with us in the physical form but his accolades, drive, and aura will forever live on in the city of Los Angeles and every time anyone decides to pick up a basketball.
Check out Shaq’s heartbreaking post in memoriam his brother, Kobe Bryant, below.