JOHANNESBURG, The death of American basketball legend Kobe Bryant has rocked the sporting world, with the effects felt as far afield as South Africa.

The 41-year-old Bryant and his daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday, and were among nine people who lost their lives on the doomed aircraft.

South African political party Economic Freedom Fighters paid tribute to Bryant on Monday.

Kobe Bryant was one of the most celebrated and talented basketball players of his time. His tragic passing at the age of 41 comes with great pain to us all. After giving the world the excellence of his sportsmanship and the magnificent of his skill, he deserved a long life, said the EFF in a statement.

Against a backdrop of racism, Bryant and his generation stood for black excellence. He is a legend who will continue to paint many walls of black lives to inspire greatness and pride. May his soul rest in eternal peace.

Bryant also visited Soweto once in 2010, as part of a health project with Nike.

“While basketball is my chosen sport, I’ve been a football fan all my life. So to be in South Africa for the first time and see how Nike is utilising sport to inspire youth and educate them around HIV/AIDS is amazing, said Bryant at the time.

It’s crystal clear that this center will help keep kids out of trouble, improve their game, as well as empower them with the life skills they need to live better and HIV free.

Source: African News Agency