Michael Jordan was among many to express their sadness on Monday following the sudden death of Kobe Bryant. He released the following statement:
"I am in shock over the tragic news of Kobe's and Gianna's passing. Words can't describe the pain I'm feeling. 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 fiere competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force. Kobe was also an amazing dad who loved is 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."
MORE: NBA players react to death of Kobe Bryant
For many, Jordan is the greatest player of all-time.
For many, Bryant is the closest thing to Jordan we have ever or will ever see.
Every aspect of Bryant's game seemed eerily reminiscent of the Chicago Bulls legend. The shot making, the swagger, the competitive fire, the defence, the trash talking, the tongue, the footwork, the fadeaways, the rings... everything.
When Bryant was voted into the 1998 All-Star Game as a 19-year-old who didn't even yet start on the Lakers, he did so because of a widespread popularity surpassed by only Jordan himself. And who did that 19-year-old seek out on the floor at Madison Square Garden of all places? Who else... Jordan.
When Bryant and Jordan played for the final time in March 2003, it was Bryant who erupted for a double-nickel of his own, scoring 55 points in a win over Jordan's Wizards.
For years and even while he was still playing with the Bulls, many wondered if we'd ever see another Michael Jordan.
And then came Kobe Bryant.
The views expressed here do not represent those of the NBA or its clubs.