Kobe Bryant's laserlike focus and sublime skills were remembered Sunday by NBA colleagues, fans and athletes he inspired as they absorbed the shock of his death at the age of 41.
Bryant, a five-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers and two-time Olympic gold medallist, died in a fiery helicopter crash in suburban Los Angeles that also claimed the life of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.
Journalists from inside and outside the world of sport lined up to pay tribute to NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist Kobe Bryant after his death in a helicopter crash.
US Sports magazine Sports Illustrated ran with a single black and white photo of Bryant in profile and the headline: "Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020".
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Below, it posted links to every cover that had featured the star.
"How does that happen? Kobe is stronger than any helicopter," wrote Bill Plaschke in the Los Angeles Times, the newspaper of the city that adored Bryant, who won five NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers.
"He didn't even need a helicopter. For 20 years he flew into greatness while carrying a breathless city with him."
At the other end of the country, the New York Times website carried a lengthy profile of Bryant, hailing his "extraordinary career" as well as mentioning 2003 rape accusations that were levelled against him.
Kobe Bryant "personified the modern sports alpha," wrote Jason Gray in a Wall Street Journal article headlined "What Kobe Bryant Meant".
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"On the court, he was the alpha, really-for better, and, sometimes, worse, in greatness and defeat, demanding to put the whole game on his shoulders when it mattered most, and even when it didn't matter much at all."
The grief was just as strongly felt in Europe, particularly Italy, where Bryant spent part of his childhood and where his father played professional basketball.
In Italy, the La Gazzetta dello Sport ran with the headline "La Tragedia" -- "The Tragedy" -- and paid tribute to Bryant's "fluent Italian", picked up during his stay in the country.
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La Gazzetta also posted a video of a young Bryant playing basketball in Pistoia in Tuscany.
The Corriere sports daily recalled Bryant's love for Italy and its football -- he was an avid AC Milan fan -- quoting Roma legend Francesco Totti as saying he was "honoured to have known the American champion".
In France, where Bryant also briefly lived when he was a teenager, L'Equipe dedicated nine pages to the star's death, underneath a photo of Bryant posing against the Paris skyline.
"Basketball alone does not define me," he told the French publication in 2017.
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Marca, the most popular sports magazine in Spain talked of "pain and glory" after the death of Bryant.
"Most players are either consumed by the marathon of the NBA or worn down by the grind of 82 games, plus playoffs, year upon year," wrote Roy Ward in Australia's Sydney Morning Herald.
"Kobe was one of the rare ones who transcended the grind. He worked himself until he could stand up to every road trip, every injury, every boo; every missed shot and every loss."
Madison Square Garden, home of the New York Knicks, was washed in the Lakers colors of purple and gold, and so were the pylons that mark the entrance to Los Angeles International Airport.
"We laughed and joked about the Mamba mentality. We're all going to need it right now," an emotional Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers said before his team played the Magic in Orlando in one of eight NBA games on the night.
In San Antonio, the Spurs and Toronto Raptors both committed 24-second shot-clock violations on their opening possessions in honor of Bryant -- who wore No. 24 in the later stages of his career.
"The NBA family is devastated," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said.
"For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning.
"He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game." Six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan said Bryant would be remembered as one of the game's greatest.
"Words can't describe the pain I'm feeling," Jordan said.
"I loved Kobe - he was like a little brother to me." That sentiment was echoed by Shaquille O'Neal -- who won three NBA titles and also famously feuded with Bryant in Los Angeles.
The grief was felt beyond the basketball court.
"The world lost a legend today, but the impact and legacy he leaves behind will last forever," Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao -- an avid basketball fan -- tweeted.
Brazilian footballer Neymar dedicated his second goal in Paris Saint-German's 2-0 victory at Lille to Bryant, calling his death "deeply saddening for the world of sport and for all of us -- not just for basketball fans but for everything he did for sport."
Golf superstar Tiger Woods, whose professional career started the same year as Bryant's, recalled competitive qualities that echo those of Woods himself.
"The fire," Woods said of what he most remembered of Bryant.
"He burned so competitively hot. He had such a desire to win. He brought it every night."
"Any time he was in the game he would take on their best player and shut him down for 40 minutes. I think that's one of the best things about him his whole career."
Woods, no stranger to injury, recalled the time Bryant ruptured an achilles tendon -- then stayed in the game to make his free throws.
It was just one of myriad signature moments Bryant produced in his career. But for many Sunday's grief for what he might still have achieved in his post-NBA life.
"Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act," former US President Barack Obama, another keen basketball fan, tweeted.
"His star was continuing to rise every day and he knew no limits because of his many intellectual and creative talents and desire to give back to others - his passion for the game, for his family and for others was apparent in everything he accomplished," former Boston Celtics star Larry Bird said.
In Los Angeles, fans gathered to leave tributes near the sight of the crash and outside the Lakers' practice facility miles south in El Segundo.
And they gathered outside the Lakers' Staples Center arena, where Bryant's death cast a shadow over the glitzy Grammy Awards.
"Here we are," Grammys host Alicia Keys said.
"Together. On music's biggest night celebrating the artists that do it best. But to be honest with you, we're all feeling crazy sadness right now. Because earlier today Los Angeles, America and the whole wide world lost a hero.
"And we're literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built."