Michael Jordan Remembers Kobe Bryant: ‘He Was Like a Little Brother to Me’

Bryant and eight others died in a helicopter crash Sunday

Michael Jordan has joined the chorus of voices remembering fellow basketball legend Kobe Bryant, who died Sunday along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.

“I am in shock over the tragic news of Kobe’s and Gianna’s passing. Words can’t describe the pain I’m feeling,” the former Chicago Bulls player said in a statement posted to Twitter by his manager, Estee Portnoy.

“I loved Kobe — he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often, and I will miss those conversations very much. He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force,” Jordan continued.

Jordan also extended condolences on behalf of his wife, Yvette Prieto, and praised the former Lakers player for his love of family.

“Kobe was also an amazing dad who loved his family deeply — and took great pride in his daughter’s love for the game of basketball. Yvette joins me in sending my deepest condolences to Vanessa, the Lakers organization and basketball fans around the world,” he said.

Among the seven other victims whose lives were lost in the crash alongside Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter were Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa, as well as Christina Mauser, an assistant girls basketball coach at Harbor Day School in Corona Del Mar, California. Three other victims have yet to be identified.

The helicopter was traveling to a basketball practice at Bryant’s Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, when it went down in the hills west of the San Fernando Valley on Sunday at about 10 a.m. PT, officials said.