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Kobe Bryant inspired thousands of Chicago public school student athletes with his remarkable talent and passion for the game of basketball. From a 17-year-old phenom coming out of Philadelphia’s Lower Merion High School into the National Basketball Association, and throughout his Hall of Fame career, he created a standard for intensity and perseverance that is matched by very few. Bryant was fully aware at a young age that he was destined for greatness, and used that vision as motivation for everything he achieved on and off the basketball court. He was a five-time NBA champion, two-time Olympic gold medalist, global ambassador and icon, but more important, a husband, father and friend. Our union is saddened at the news of his death, and the passing of his daughter Gianna and others in this tragedy.

There were legends before him, and there will be legends after him, but there will never be another Kobe Bean Bryant. He was the Black Mamba—an L.A. king. We send our deepest and sincerest condolences to his family, as well as the city of Los Angeles, Los Angeles Lakers organization and Sierra Canyon Middle School community.