Lakers GM Rob Pelinka Releases Statement on Kobe Bryant's Death

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On Thursday, Lakers GM and Vice President of Basketball Operations Rob Pelinka released a statement regarding the death of Lakers legend, and Pelinka's former client, Kobe Bryant.

"On Sunday, I lost my best friend and my sweet goddaughter. With that, there has been an amputation of part of my soul," Pelinka said in a statement. "Kobe was a force of nature, deep and obsessed with excellence. He was wise, determined, passionate. A visionary beyond measure. A dedicated and loving husband, and a "girl-dad" like no other. When he walked into a room, the energy ignited. He was high voltage, with a motor that had no limits. His mind had an infinite capacity to learn. He was, simply put, the most inspirational athlete of our time. What the world may not know, is that he was also the best friend anyone could ever imagine...

"Their lives have shown me that death has no victory. Last Sunday is not the end of the story. It's just a new beginning. Kobe and Gigi's legacies will live on — and gain even more power and influence. All of us touched by them will now try to become torch carriers of their legacies. And, while we do that, we can be certain of this: Kobe and Gigi will continue on, forever, playing a joy-filled game of basketball in heaven above."

Pelinka was Bryant's longtime agent, negotiating his final two-year, $48.5 million contract under which Bryant finished his two-decade career.

The Lakers released their team statement on Wednesday, hours after Kobe's wife Vanessa released her first public comments.

Lakers executives, including Jeanie Buss and Linda Rambis, gathered at the team's facility on Sunday following the news of Bryant's death, according to the LA Times. Pelinka reportedly also spent time on Sunday with Bryant’s widow, Vanessa.

An 18-time All-Star and 11-time All-NBA first-teamer, Bryant led the Lakers to five NBA championships and scored 33,643 points in his 20-year NBA career. He retired after the 2015-16 season, having spent his entire career with the Lakers. The franchise retired his No. 8 and No. 24 jersey numbers in December 2017.

Bryant, his daughter and seven other people died suddenly in a helicopter crash on Sunday. Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his daughter Alyssa and wife Keri were also killed, along with Sarah and Payton Chester, assistant coach Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan. 

Pelinka was promoted to VP of Basketball Operations in early January. 

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