Lakers Owner Jeanie Buss Breaks Her Silence on Kobe Bryant’s Death at 41

A touching tribute. Jeanie Buss, the owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, opened up about the tragic death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant.

The 58-year-old executive shared a heartfelt statement on Thursday, January 30, that detailed how much Bryant meant to her. Her comments were accompanied by a photo taken in February 2016 ahead of that year’s All-Star Game in Toronto, Canada. She was featured her in the background of a shot of Kobe, his wife, Vanessa Bryant, and two of their four children.

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Kobe, I don’t know how to express what you mean to me, my family and the Los Angeles Lakers. My father loved you like a son, which makes us family. When you invited me to lunch shortly after my father passed away, I was struggling to find motivation and purpose. Kobe, you brought Gianna with you to spend some time with me. You explained that you wanted to show her that women can be leaders in the NBA, just like the men. At first, it seemed like an action of a devoted father setting an example for his daughter. But in actuality – and I am positively sure you knew EXACTLY what you were doing – what you did was give me the inspiration and strength I was searching for. I reflect on that day often and it makes me smile and it makes me strong. I call on that memory whenever I feel down and need a bit of courage. For everything you did on the court that filled me with so much joy and love, for all the lives you changed through basketball itself, it was that day with Gigi that reignited my drive and determination. Vanessa, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri – I am so sorry for your loss. We are grateful to have you in our lives and we will always be here for you. To the families that also lost loved ones on Sunday, the entire Laker family mourns with you. Laker Nation – we are one family grieving the loss of people we all loved dearly. We will mourn together, cry together but we will also heal together, love together and win TOGETHER. We love you. Kobe – that’s what you made you so unbelievably special. You not only inspired us towards greatness, you showed us the way. : : To learn more about how you can help the families affected by this tragedy go to MambaOnThree.org and to further Kobe and Gianna’s legacy in youth sports visit MambaSportsFoundation.org #peace #love #joy #family #Mamba #Mambacita #2 #8 #24 : : Picture taken in February 2016 on the way to #NBAAllStar game in #Toronto

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“Kobe, I don’t know how to express what you mean to me, my family and the Los Angeles Lakers. My father loved you like a son, which makes us family,” Buss wrote on Instagram. “When you invited me to lunch shortly after my father passed away, I was struggling to find motivation and purpose. Kobe, you brought Gianna with you to spend some time with me. You explained that you wanted to show her that women can be leaders in the NBA, just like the men.”

She continued, “At first, it seemed like an action of a devoted father setting an example for his daughter. But in actuality — and I am positively sure you knew EXACTLY what you were doing — what you did was give me the inspiration and strength I was searching for. I reflect on that day often and it makes me smile and it makes me strong. I call on that memory whenever I feel down and need a bit of courage.”

Buss went on to share her condolences for Vanessa, 37, and her daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months, amid their “loss.”

“We are grateful to have you in our lives and we will always be here for you,” she continued. “ To the families that also lost loved ones on Sunday, the entire Laker family mourns with you. Laker Nation — we are one family grieving the loss of people we all loved dearly. We will mourn together, cry together but we will also heal together, love together and win TOGETHER. We love you.”

In concluding her statement, Buss noted how “unbelievably special” the five-time NBA champion was.

Laker’s-Owner-Jeanie-Buss-Reacts-to-Kobe-Bryant’s-Death-at-41p
Jeanie Buss Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Buss’ statement came one day after Vanessa broke her silence on the matter. Speaking out via Instagram, the 37-year-old mother of four shared a photo of the couple smiling while posing with their daughters. She noted how “completely devastated” her family is by the deaths of her husband and Gianna.

“There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved,” she wrote, sharing a photo of the family of five. “We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon. I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them. But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way.”

Kobe died on Sunday, January 26, when his private helicopter crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, California. He and his teenage daughter were among the nine victims whose lives were claimed in the accident. The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner confirmed to Us Weekly on Wednesday, January 29, that all perished individuals had been identified. Kobe, an 18-time All-Star and Academy Award winner, was 41.

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