Friends, athletes and fans share their favorite Kobe Bryant stories

We are all still reeling from the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, as he and his 13-year old daughter, Gianna, along with seven others, died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, CA on Sunday morning.

Kobe’s legacy touched the hearts and lives of many, and as the world continues to mourn, many have shared their memories of Kobe on social media and beyond.

Here are some of those touching tributes — the best Mamba stories from those who knew him best, and those whose interactions were fleeting yet unforgettable, beginning with the great Magic Johnson:

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As I try to write this post, my mind is racing. I’m in disbelief and have been crying all morning over this devastating news that Kobe and his young daughter, Gigi have passed away in a helicopter crash. Cookie and I are heartbroken. I love him, his family and what he stood for on the court and off the court. My friend, a legend, husband, father, son, brother, Oscar winner and greatest Laker of all-time is gone. It’s hard to accept. Kobe was a leader of our game, a mentor to both male and female players. He gave his knowledge, time, and talent to tutor so many at the youth level, collegiate level, and NBA and WNBA players. Words can’t express the impact that he had on the game of basketball. I know basketball fans all over the world will miss him, especially the City of Los Angeles. He was such an icon but also did so much for LA. He was passionate about serving the homeless and was an advocate for women's basketball. Coaching his daughter’s basketball team brought him so much happiness. Kobe and I shared so many special conversations about life and basketball. We had so much in common off the court. I used to love talking to him about Lakers basketball, being fathers and husbands and how much we loved Italy. I will miss those conversations and him so much. Laker Nation, the game of basketball and our city, will never be the same without Kobe. Cookie and I are praying for Vanessa, his beautiful daughters Natalia, Bianka and Capri, as well as his parents Joe and Pam and his sisters. We will always be here for the Bryant family. We love you forever. 🙏🏾❤️ #8 #24

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Wins and clutch moments on the court are special, but that’s not what resonated most with former Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal when reflecting on Kobe.

Kobe was many things, and to NBA legend and former Chicago Bulls icon Michael Jordan, he was family.

Kobe was certainly one of the greatest to play the game, but that’s not what Laker great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will remember most about him.

Philadelphia 76ers legend Allen Iverson was able to experience the ‘Mamba Mentality’ firsthand, and that memory will stick with him for a lifetime. Click the right arrow to read what AI had to say.

Sometimes, it’s the final interaction that sticks with us the most – this was the case for Atlanta Hawks’ star guard Trae Young.

For Blake Griffin, Kobe was someone larger than life, and developing a relationship with him was something he’ll never forget.

After a record-setting night of their own, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and his team were instead all-consumed watching Kobe in his legendary final game.

A basketball player, a friend and finally, a father. Cleveland Cavaliers Kevin Love knows Kobe will be remembered for each of his roles.

Add a mentor to the list — Warriors Draymond Green recounts when Kobe helped him through the toughest of times.

Or perhaps, an icon. Kobe was the guy, and DeAndre Jordan will never forget the first time Kobe talked to him.

LAFC soccer star Carlos Vela describes how Kobe inspired athletes — beyond just those in basketball.

From one great to another, Tiger Woods respects Kobe’s endless fire and competitive drive.

Obama has the utmost respect for Kobe because of his strength and resilience – fighting through injury and still performing at the highest level.

While never experiencing it firsthand, head coach John Beilein will forever associate Kobe with an unwavering work ethic.

There’s nothing more special than being able to learn from one of the greatest to play. Lakers assistant coach Phil Handy remembers his experience with Kobe organizing the 1st Annual Mamba Invitational.

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“BEAN” your knowledge will never be forgotten! Last summer @kobebryant entrusted me with putting together the 1st Annual Mamba Invitational at the @mambasportsacademy … Here was a legend who was all about details and he left it to me to put this event together with @michelleobeso and many others behind the scenes. This was by far the greatest event I have been a part of in my life. 2 days of pure basketball knowledge on the court in the weight and in the classroom. 20 of our best young players from the @nba were invited to this event. Some who got invited couldn’t attend due to other events and schedule. The ones who were there were truly blessed to get inside his mind and get close to him for 2 days. Beyond any honor I can think of was for him to trust me with executing this event from start to finish. Look at the faces of everyone in that room and how we paid attention to every word. All of us must carry the #mambamentality torch. I will definitely do my part and honor a good friend and legend for the rest of my days on this earth through my work daily. It’s time to start cherishing everything he left us! #kobebryant

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Kobe was known for a multitude of things. Former UFC champion Daniel Cormier explains that his greatest quality was “just being a genuine, nice guy.”

Often the biggest moments aren’t the most memorable. For LA Times writer Arash Markazi, it wasn’t the stats that made Kobe great, but the man behind the numbers.

Sometimes, the only way you can describe someone is “the best.” And for ESPN writer Marc J. Spears, Kobe was “the best” – at everything he did.

Stay tuned for more updates …