Baseball world mourns loss of Kobe Bryant

January 27th, 2020

The shocking death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, on Sunday morning was felt across the world of sports and beyond. Countless stars from Major League Baseball immediately took to social media to voice their sorrow about Bryant’s passing.

Bryant had just sent Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger a congratulatory message on Bellinger’s 2019 National League MVP Award on Saturday night via the Dodgers’ Twitter account, and Bellinger quickly offered his thanks to the legend. Bellinger was obviously shaken by Bryant’s sudden passing less than 24 hours later.

Bellinger's teammate, closer Kenley Jansen, was shaken by the news.

Another Dodger, Justin Turner, alluded to two occasions involving Bryant on which he was speechless.

MLB and the Dodgers shared their sentiments via Twitter.

Lakers legend Magic Johnson, a part-owner of the Dodgers, wrote a series of tweets paying tribute to Bryant, the pair forever linked as franchise and Los Angeles icons.

Reigning AL MVP Award winner Mike Trout also tweeted his condolences to the Bryant family, as did 2018 NL MVP Christian Yelich.

Trout's teammate, Albert Pujols, shared similar sentiments.

The Phillies offered their condolences for Bryant, who was born in Philadelphia and played at Lower Merion High in Ardmore, Pa.

Newly elected Hall of Famer Derek Jeter, whose MLB career overlapped with Bryant's NBA career from 1996-2014, and who will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame about a month before Bryant will posthumously be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, paid tribute in a Player's Tribune article.

Many MLB stars, including two-time Cy Young Award winner Justin Verlander and former NL MVP Andrew McCutchen, summed up the stunning nature of the moment. It was hard to process the news, and hard to believe that Bryant -- a towering figure and still a vibrant and dynamic member of the basketball and Los Angeles community -- was suddenly gone.

Tony Clark, executive director of the Major League Baseball Players Association, expressed sympathy on behalf of the union.

Reigning NL Rookie of the Year Pete Alonso said he grew up watching Kobe join the all-time greats of basketball and said Bryant is now “a king remembered in time.”

Bryant’s work ethic, passion and dedication to his craft inspired an entire generation of young athletes -- whether they grew up playing basketball or any other sport. Free-agent outfielder Kevin Pillar shared on Twitter that Bryant was the inspiration for the name of his daughter, Kobie.

Bryant's death cast a pall on the Brewers On Deck fan festival, particularly for California natives like Ryan Braun and Keston Hiura. Both addressed the sad news. Braun, who grew up in Los Angeles, estimated he saw Bryant play in person at least 50 times.

“I don’t think I have the words in my vocabulary to properly articulate the way that I feel,” Braun said. “It’s devastating. He was such an incredible basketball player and had such an impact on people’s lives off the court. He had so much left to give. It’s heartbreaking. ... It’s a constant reminder that you never know how much time you have left. Be present and tell the people you love that you love them.”

Taking stock of every day and appreciating the precious nature of life was a sentiment shared by many after hearing that Bryant’s life, after just 41 short years, had come to an end.

Bryant was former Dodgers and Padres star Matt Kemp's basketball hero while growing up in Oklahoma. Kemp, who honored Bryant’s last NBA game in 2016 by wearing special purple and gold batting gloves with the No. 24 emblazoned across them, was left “speechless.”

Five-time All-Star center fielder Adam Jones was also a massive fan of Bryant, tweeting Sunday that he was watching Bryant from his debut through his final game in 2016.

Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward pointed to Bryant’s perseverance in an Instagram post, citing how he put everything into his game as though it was his “last moment on the court.”

Former Red Sox star Manny Ramirez said Bryant’s impact will span “generations.”

Hall of Famer Chipper Jones took to Twitter to mourn Bryant, noting that he met the basketball legend once and how "awesome" he was.

Barry Bonds called Bryant "an inspiration to the world."

Mets right-hander Noah Syndergaard summed up the immediate reaction of so many people around the world with his tweet.