The death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash Sunday sent shockwaves through the sports world, and obviously particularly hit Los Angeles and the Lakers hard.
The team released its first significant statement Wednesday night, hours after coach Frank Vogel spoke to the media about how the team was handling the loss.
“We are devastated and have been forever changed by the sudden loss of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna,” the Lakers wrote in a message on Instagram that accompanied a photo of Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter.
“We send our love to Vanessa, the Bryant family, and to the families of the other passengers. Words cannot express what Kobe means to the Los Angeles Lakers, our fans, and our city. More than a basketball player, he was a beloved father, husband, and teammate. Their love and light will remain in our hearts forever.”
The team also promoted the MambaOnThree Fund, which Vanessa Bryant announced earlier Wednesday, to help the families of the other seven people killed in the tragedy.
A condensed version of the message was posted in a thread on the Lakers’ Twitter account. The team’s Instagram and Twitter avatars were changed to a “blacked-out” version of the Lakers logo.
Prior to this, their only significant public comments came Monday, when they announced the postponement of the game against the Clippers.