The Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas has joined the world in mourning the untimely passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, Monday.
Bryant, together with eight passengers, was killed in a tragic helicopter crash at around 10:00 am (pacific time) at Calabasas, California.
He was 41.
“SBP Chairman Emeritus Manuel V. Pangilinan and President Alfredo S. Panlilio mourn the untimely demise of Kobe Bryant, one of basketball’s titans, and one of its great ambassadors,” the federation’s statement read.
Throughout his stellar 20-year career, Bryant had frequently visited the country for shoe tours and even two exhibition games back in 2011.
The Philippines and the Filipino people have been close to the five-time NBA champion’s heart.
“The basketball world just lost one of its greatest sons, Kobe Bryant. Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas is grieved by the news, and we send extend our deepest condolences to his family. Kobe was greatness personified. From the way, he carried himself to the work he puts into his game – committedly doing [he always did] it with passion and with style,” the statement continued.
“His handful of trips to the Philippines has made him one of the most beloved NBA players among Filipino fans and we will all remember these moments fondly, especially the Smart Ultimate All-Star Weekend, where he amazed us with his talent and touched us with his electric personality.”
Now, the world will have to move on without one of its greatest ambassadors in the sport of basketball. And the federation looks to groom the next generations with the values left by Bryant.
“Rest in Peace, Kobe. Thank you for showing us what it means to be a true competitor and as genuine a true sportsman.”