Kobe Bryant was an all-time great NBA player, but former Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter will remember the Lakers legend for what he built in his time off the court.
Los Angeles County authorities confirmed an afternoon TMZ report that the 41-year-old Bryant died Sunday in a Calabasas, California, helicopter crash that killed nine people -- including his 13-year-old daugther Gianna. Kobe, Gianna and the seven others on board were reportedly headed to nearby Thousand Oaks, California, where the Bryant-owned Mamba Sports Academy is located.
With paralleled tenures in the NBA and MLB as 20-year stars and faces of their respective sports, Bryant (1996-16) and Jeter (1995-14) joined forces near the ends of their playing careers at The Players' Tribune. Bryant got involved with the platform in December 2014, investing in the media platform Jeter founded.
In a tribute to Bryant on The Players' Tribune simply entitle "Kobe," Jeter put his friendship into perspective. The memories that came to Jeter's mind delved deeper than sports.
As fierce of a competitor Bryant was, Jeter saw him pour a newfound passion into his family -- particularly, fatherhood. Bryant and his wife Vanessa Bryant, 37, had four daughters, including Gianna, 17-year-old Natalia, 3-year-old Bianka and 7-month-old Capri.
"Kobe just loved being a dad," Jeter wrote.
"And when it comes to his legacy, I really hope we're able to take the time to remember that as an essential part of it.
"Rest in peace to Gianna Bryant. Rest in peace to the other passengers on board.
"And rest in peace to Kobe Bryant -- who knew that his life was only as important as the love he had for the people in it. Who knew that he was born to play basketball. But it was family over everything."