DUBAI: The Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al-Maktoum has joined other basketball fans all over the world are mourning the sudden death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash on Monday.
Bryant, who played his entire 20-season career in the National Basketball Association (NBA) with the Los Angeles Lakers, was one of the nine people who perished when the helicopter they were in crashed on a hillside in Calabasas, California. Among the fatalities was Bryant's 13-year-old daughter Gianna.
“You carried an inspirational message to our youth in Dubai and helped them accomplish their dreams. Heroes come and go, but legends are forever,” Sheikh Hamdan posted on Twitter, in a heartrending tribute for the NBA superstar.
— Hamdan bin Mohammed (@HamdanMohammed) January 27, 2020
A multitude of Arab fans from across the region also took to social media accounts to mourn the death of the player.
“I couldn’t believe it, I thought it was all fake news. A couple of tears came out of my eyes… my heart was beating really quickly and my face turned red. Kobe was more than a basketball player to me, he was a real life superhero. He motivated me to give it my all with anything I do, he’s the main reason why I decided to play and watch basketball,” Journalism student at the American University of Sharjah Amro Eldahshoury told Arab News.
And posts calling Bryant a legend and offering condolences filled Twitter.
“Tomorrow is not granted, love each other today. Basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi died in a helicopter crash… he has taught us a lot about work and doing what one loves,” Cofounder and CTO of MarkeetEx Sharifa Al-Barami tweeted on Monday.
الغد ليس مضمون لأحد...
احبوا بعض اليوم...
وفاة اسطورة كرة السلة كوبي براين وابنته جيجي في حادث مروحية.
— شريفة مسلم البرعمي (@SharifaAlBarami) January 27, 2020
Another NBA legend, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar mourned Bryant’s death and said he will remember him “as a man who was much more than an athlete.”
Most people will remember Kobe as the magnificent athlete who inspired a whole generation of basketball players. But I will always remember him as a man who was much more than an athlete. pic.twitter.com/9EZuwk8wrV
— Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (@kaj33) January 26, 2020
Celebrities with Arab descent or who are partly Arab also took to Instagram.
This is too much. Rest In Peace and love together, legends. Growing up a Kobe fan brought so much joy to my life, like so many, and we were all so excited to see sweet Gigi play someday. Sending strength and my deepest condolences to Vanessa, the Bryant family, and all the families affected by this tragedy.
Gigi and Bella Hadid posted images of the player, offering condolences to his wife over the loss of her husband and daughter and praying for the families of those affected by the crash.
Shanin Shaik, a model of Saudi descent, captioned an image of the player saying “Legends live forever.”
Another model of African-Arab roots, Imaan Hammam, also took to Instagram to honor Bryant. She urged people to value their blessings because of the fleeting nature of life.
But Bryant was also loved by people who were not even basketball fans.
“It shocked me. Kobe the basketball legend has died in a helicopter crash. It all just seemed so paradoxical. I was not that into basketball but I’ve always loved Kobe. I loved how humble he was. I loved his sense of humor and his kindheartednesses. Rest in peace legend, my heart goes out to his wife and kids,” AUS graduate Moza Al-Nabouda told Arab News.
Bryant was named NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2008 and two-time NBA Finals MVP, and had two Olympic gold medals for men’s basketball.