Rob Pelinka, GM of Los Angeles Lakers, issued a heartbreaking statement Thursday, recalling Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, saying that their loss was "an amputation of part of my soul".
In his first public opinion Since the tragic helicopter crash in California on Sunday, Pelinka has mourned his "best friend" Bryant (41) and his "sweet goddaughter" Gianna.
Pelinka, 50, who was Bryant's agent before joining the Lakers, said the NBA legend was "a force of nature, profound and obsessed with excellence."
“He was wise, determined, and passionate. An immeasurable visionary, ”said Pelinka.
Bryant was not only the “most inspiring athlete of our time”, but also a “committed and loving husband” and father “like no other” of his four daughters.
The second of Bryant's girl, Gianna "Gigi" Bryant, was "pure joy," said Pelinka.
"She was brilliant, friendly and warm," said Pelinka. "And when she stepped onto the basketball court like her father, she took on a very different style and boy could play it."
"Your fate in basketball was obvious and the world knew it."
The teenager was friends with Pelinka's son and daughter, who "always left time to make Gigi feel better in life".
"Everything Gigi stood for that I'm so proud of," said Pelinka.
Pelinka paid tribute to all nine victims of the crash and wrote that he had learned: "Life on this side of eternity will never be the same."
"For everyone of us who knew her, an irreplaceable emptiness remains."
Pelinka ended his message with a hopeful message, saying that the "severe grief" he felt for Bryant's widow Vanessa, 37, and her three surviving daughters Natalia, Bianka and Capri and the other victims, was "slow" [be] redeemed in something healed and new. "
"I realize that nothing is inseparable from the love and inspiration we received from Kobe and Gianna," he said.
"The legacy of Kobe and Gigi will live on – and gain even more power and influence," Pelinka vowed.
"We all who touch her will now try to become torchbearers of her inheritance," he added. "And while we do that, we can be sure that Kobe and Gigi will go on forever and play a joyful basketball game in the sky above us."