From AOC to Bad Bunny: How Latines Are Remembering Kobe Bryant

Lead Photo: Kobe Bryant addresses the crowd at halftime as both his #8 and #24 Los Angeles Lakers jerseys are retired at Staples Center on December 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
Kobe Bryant addresses the crowd at halftime as both his #8 and #24 Los Angeles Lakers jerseys are retired at Staples Center on December 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Harry How/Getty Images
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On Sunday, 41-year-old Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant died in a tragic helicopter crash that reportedly killed a total of nine people. The identity of all aboard are still undisclosed at this time, pending further investigation and conversation with next of kin, according to an LA County Sheriff at a press briefing earlier today.

Bryant is survived by his wife Vanessa Bryant, and three other daughters – Natalia Diamante, Bianka Bella and Capri Kobe, who is only 7 months old.

Kobe will go down in history as one of the best basketball players of all time. He won five championships throughout his notable 20-year career (all with the Lakers), was a 17-time NBA All-Star, two-time NBA Finals MVP, won two Olympic gold medals, won an Oscar in 2018 for his documentary “Dear Basketball,” and more. In addition, he was fluent in three languages – including Spanish, which he famously learned largely from telenovelas.

Of course, his legacy is not void of blemishes. In 2003, Bryant was accused of rape in a case that was settled out of court, according to Daily News.

Many will take time to reflect and process his complicated legacy in upcoming days, but the most-common reaction today was shock. People of all backgrounds were stricken by shock and grief today, and many took to social media to express their raw thoughts.

“[This] is why I don’t wait for tomorrow,” J Balvin wrote. “So many surprises in life that the present escapes us.” Dozens of others weighed in as well. Below are a few reactions from Latine folks who either knew him personally or admired him from afar:


Ivy Queen


“Beloved father, give strength to [Vanessa Bryant, who] not only lost a husband but also her daughter!” she wrote. “My soul is broken in pieces. This is a nightmare! Rest in Paradise Kobe & Gigi…”


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez



Bad Bunny


“I never would have imagined this would hurt so much!” he said. “I still remember the first time I saw a game of basketball at 7 years old with my dad, and it was a game with this genius, and from that day forward he became my favorite player x100pre!! I’ve never mentioned it because it doesn’t necessarily have to do with music, but this man has been an inspiration in many aspects for me to be who I am today. RIP GOAT!!! Rest in PEACE!!!! Thank you for inspiring me so much!! Thanks for so many emotions!!! How sad I feel!!! A legend is gone!! Along with a beautiful child and basketball promise, Gianna… It breaks my soul too know that I was going to meet, and share time, with you soon…”




Neymar, who symbolically raised a high 2-4 on the field today, also took to Instagram to express his shock: “A sad day for us in sports, for fans [but] especially for family and friends of Kobe’s. A legend has been made with your hands, thank you for exalting the sport, Kobe… may God comfort the hearts of your family and friends.”


Robert Rodriguez


Rodriguez – producer, writer and director of the likes of “Black Mamba,” Spy Kids, Sin City, and El Mariachi – weighed in as well.


Alex Rodriguez

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My heart hurts so much right now. I still can't wrap my head around this. How can it be? . I learned so much from Kobe Bryant. He was naturally gifted, but had a passion for basketball like no one else I've ever seen. His work ethic was impeccable and his stress on mastering the fundamentals is what elevated him to the player he was. I've never met anyone more focused with a myopic approach. He didn't pursue approval, affirmation or adulation. He pursued excellence and process. He followed my career and would often call to help with my health, daily routine … and would even chime in about hitting techniques. He was a role model to me, and millions around the world. . We met as teenagers. We followed similar paths. We went from high school to the pros and our baby girls grew up together. People don't know this, but he was my secret coach. He pushed me and motivated me, especially toward the end of my career when I needed him most. He was always there. Even after our playing days, he was there for me. He attended @Jlo's last show in Vegas. He appeared on TheCorp podcast. . I last saw him a few months ago. I will remember what he told me about how much he loved Vanessa and his girls, and that he continued to say no to 99 percent of offers, choosing instead to spend as much time with his family as possible. . I will remember his greatness. I will remember his guidance. I will remember his friendship. I will remember that he made me a better person. . His 13-year-old daughter Gianna was following in her Dad’s footsteps. She was kind, smart, caring and going to be a star. . Rest in peace, Kobe. Rest in peace, GiGi. My heart and prayers go out to the Bryant family and the passengers’ families.

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Anuel AA


“Wow, my hero died,” he said. “This is unbelievable. I’m here crying as if I knew him, heartbroken. Rest in peace, legend, you left a mark on the world. May God continue blessing his family and fill them with strength. Wow what sadness. [Kobe Bryant] your name will live forever.”


Daddy Yankee

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Muy triste 😞 parece tan irreal! #RIP MAMBA!

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“So sad. Feels so unreal!” he said.


Jon Z


“Why do you I wanna cry like this was my buddy? #RIPKOBE,” he wrote on Instagram.


Pau Gasol

Spanish basketball player Pau Gasol Sáez expressed disbelief.


Nicky Jam

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Todavía no lo creo que descanses en paz 🥺🥺

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“I still can’t believe it,” Nicky Jam wrote. “Rest in peace.”