NFL Players React to Shocking News of Kobe Bryant’s Death

A moment of silence is observed in the memory of Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (1978-2020) during the 2020 NFL Pro Bowl at Camping World Stadium. (Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in Southern California on Sunday. The news sent the sports world into shock.

But games, both in the NBA and elsewhere, went on. They included the Pro Bowl, which kicked off at 3 p.m. ET, around 30 minutes after Bryant’s death was first reported.

Players on the sideline were stunned as they tried to follow the news.

Some fans at the game in Orlando learned of Bryant’s death via a PA announcement. Camping World Stadium then held a moment of silence – which was interrupted by clapping and chanting – for Bryant and the other passengers who were killed.

Chants of “Kobe! Kobe!” broke out around the stadium.

NFL players react to Kobe Bryant’s death

Meanwhile, stunned NFL players took to social media to react:

Pro Bowl players honor Bryant

During the Pro Bowl, NFC defensive players honored Bryant with a sack celebration. Za’Darius Smith held up two fingers on one hand and four on the other, paying homage to Bryant’s No. 24.

“It was a tribute to Kobe and his family,” Smith said afterward. “For everyone to participate as a team, I just hope that touched a lot of people in a special way.”

Davante Adams also saluted No. 24 after his second-half touchdown. He dunked the ball through the goal posts. Later, on the sideline, he said, “Kobe always meant something special to me.”

Drew Brees was asked about Bryant in a sideline interview. “He inspired so many people, in so many different ways,” Brees said of the Lakers legend. “One of the great competitors, of any generation, not just with sports, but just the way he approached a lot of things, and what he was doing after basketball.

“It’s a tragic loss.”

Lamar Jackson was also asked about Bryant, whom he said signed a jersey for him when he got drafted. “That’s a legend, man,” Jackson said.

Bryant was 41.

SOURCE: Yahoo! News, Henry Bushnell