The 41-year-old Bryant died in an helicopter crash on Sunday with his daughter Gianna and seven others when the aircraft came down in Calabasas on the outskirts of Los Angeles.
Bryant, a five-time NBA champion, played for the LA Lakers throughout his outstanding career and is considered as one of the greatest players in the game’s history.
Olumide, erstwhile captain of Nigeria national basketball team D’Tigers, said he was still in shock over the death of Bryant, adding the world had lost an icon that had a big impact on the world with his display of talent on and off the basketball.
“He impacted a lot on youths who were willing to take up basketball while adults were inspired about the way he conducted his business on and off the court.
“I don’t know if we will have another Kobe. He is a player you don’t want to play against while you will always like to be on the same team with him because of his style of play and the way he carried his teams,” Oyedeji told NationSport.
Oyedeji said he relished playing against Bryant at it was a memorable when he blocked him in one of the NBA game, which made Nigerians happy. He urged FIBA and NBA to immortalise the late icon so that his legacies would never be forgotten.
Speaking in the same vein, D’Tigress forward Evelyn Akhator said she was thrilled at how Bryant became a voice for the women’s basketball: “Kobe was a legend that gave a lot to the basketball world. He was someone that understood women’s basketball and was willing to fight for the future of women’s basketball. He’s really going to be missed and I’m praying for everyone affected by this tragedy and the families involved.
Meanwhile, President of FIBA Africa Zone Three, Col Sam Ahmedu (rtd) described Bryant as a consummate professional and an icon’s icon.
He said the two-time Olympian was always humble in victory and gracious in victory, noting that there can never be another player like him.
“Kobe was a fantastic player. Your finesse Michael Jordan replica of his era. A fun guy to watch with amazing highlights. After Magic Johnson, Kobe, until a few days ago, was the third NBA leading all-time scorer. He is the greatest all time at Lakers. He was a great ambassador of the game both in the U.S and internationally,” Ahmedu added.