Michael Jordan is speaking out after Kobe Bryant‘s death.
Shortly after ET confirmed that Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday, Jordan’s manager released a statement from the former NBA star on Twitter.
“I am in shock over the tragic news of Kobe’s and Gianna’s passing,” the statement read. “Words can’t describe the pain I’m feeling.”
“I loved Kobe — he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often, and I will miss those conversations very much,” the statement continued. “He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force. Kobe was also an amazing dad who loved his family deeply — and took great pride in his daughter’s love for the game of basketball.”
“Yvette joins me in sending my deepest condolences to Vanessa, the Lakers organization and basketball fans around the world,” Jordan’s statement concluded.
n a 2015 interview with Good Morning America, Bryant said that he counted Jordan as one of his idols. As for if he could beat Jordan in a one-on-one game, Bryant joked, “Oh, he would win some. I would win some.”
A year prior to that interview, Bryant passed Jordan for third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. After Bryant garnered more points, Jordan reached out to congratulate him.
“That was the most important thing,” Bryant told The Atlantic earlier this month. “That was cool. Because it’s such a brotherhood, such an amount of respect between us as players, and you know the amount of work and consistency you have to put in over time so it’s nothing but love and respect.”
On Saturday, when LeBron James passed Bryant on the same list, Bryant did the same thing Jordan had done for him.
“Continuing to move the game forward @KingJames,” he wrote in his final tweet. “Much respect my brother 💪🏾 #33644”
The former NBA pro is survived by his wife, Vanessa, and their three other children: Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.