The Poker World Mourns Loss of Basketball Legend Kobe Bryant

5 min read
Kobe Bryant WSOP

The poker world is mourning the death of Kobe Bryant after his helicopter crashed on Sunday morning in Southern California.

When the story broke, originally there were five people including Bryant in the crash but it is now known that nine people passed away including Bryant's 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who he was accompanying to a youth basketball game.

Bryant was known worldwide as one of the most prolific scorers and all-around players in the history of the NBA sitting just behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Karl Malone, and LeBron James on the league's all-time scoring list. As fate would have it, James just passed Bryant in career points a day before the crash.

Poker World Reacts

The Black Mamba, a nickname Bryant adopted during his career, passed away before his time at just 41 years of age. It seems like only yesterday that Bryant was dominating on the basketball court on the way to five NBA titles with the Lakers along with two Olympic gold rings.

Whether a fan or not, many poker players admired his competitiveness and leadership on the court.

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Bryant also had a small tie to poker. The World Series of Poker invited him to attend the summer festival after the passing of long-time Lakers owner and avid high-stakes poker player Jerry Buss passed away in 2013. While Bryant declined to battle on the felt on his doctor's recommendation while recovering from a knee injury, he did pay tribute to his friend and former boss by announcing the iconic β€œshuffle up and deal” to kick off Event #23: $2,500 Seven Card Stud.

The 86-year old poker legend Doyle Brunson is also known as one of the best of all-time. In his case, it is obviously in poker where he has won 10 gold bracelets including two WSOP Main Event titles. Brunson echoed many in reminding us that life is fragile.

Another poker great and avid sports fan in six-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Daniel Negreanu shared his emotions after learning about the news.

Allen Kessler took a rare break from his relentless tweeting about poker after hearing the news before eventually connecting the story to poker with a picture of the Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood changing their colors to honor Bryant.

Popular vloggers Doug Polk and Joey Ingram both expressed their condolences. Polk shared his appreciation of Bryant as a kid and how you never know when life has run its course.

Ingram, who has been Tweeting and providing video content seemingly around the clock about the ongoing Phil Galfond challenge, instead posted a slew of Tweets after the passing of Bryant. First, he appeared to be in shock before sharing what he felt made him important to himself and the world.

Countless others in the poker world also expressed their sadness on the passing of Bryant. PokerNews joins those in expressing their condolences to the families, including Bryant's long-time wife Vanessa Bryant and their three surviving daughters.

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