The Lakers are flying home from a game in Philadelphia, traveling somewhere over the Southwest, when whispers begin filtering through the plane. Coach Frank Vogel stands at the front to confirm Bryant has died.
Lakers great Jerry West: "I was sitting in my house reading the newspaper … and I think one of my sons called me and said that a helicopter crashed and they suspected that it was Kobe Bryant. So immediately we turned on the TV ... I sat there and sat there and sat there and I said, 'Oh God, please don't.' And when it came out, I was devastated. Sometimes when you see people of great accomplishments and something that you've personally had an opportunity to deal with personally and watch him grow up and admire where they got in their life, all of those things just kept going on in your head — always. I just kept saying, 'No, this can't be true. This can't be true.' Honestly, that's pretty much where I was at that moment. And then when it was confirmed, I was in tears all day. I was in tears all day. For a man of my age 1/8 82 3/8 to feel that way…It was just so personal. To watch the joy that he brought to me, because of the lengths we went to get him, but also to watch where he had risen in terms of his notoriety and his fame all over the world."
Lakers forward Jared Dudley tweets from the plane: "Speechless on this plane ride home! A sad day bruh! RIP Kobe Bean Bryant! Prayers go to his family and loved ones … This doesn't even feel real man."
Joe Biden mentions the crash during a presidential campaign event in Des Moines, Iowa: "It makes you realize that you've got to make every day count, every single day count. The point is, none of us are exempt."
Jeanie Buss, Linda Rambis and other Lakers executives gather at the team facility in El Segundo. The team opens the gates to the parking lot and places a large, white canvas with a watermarked image of Bryant out front. Fans begin showing up, writing messages on the canvas with Sharpies.
Sales clerk at Orange County bookstore that sold out of photo books featuring Bryant within an hour of his death: "It's kind of morose but people just came in 10 or 15 minutes after we found out about it."
Inside Staples Center, during a dress rehearsal for the Grammy Awards scheduled for that night, workers move Bryant's retired jerseys side-by-side and illuminate them with spotlights. All other retired jerseys are cloaked.
Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tweets: "Most people will remember Kobe as the magnificent athlete who inspired a whole generation of athletes. But I will always remember him as a man who was much more than an athlete."
In front of a Clippers banner outside of the team's locker room inside Amway Center in Orlando, Rivers speaks to reporters: "We're all Lakers today."
Sam Krutonog is among thousands of fans who congregate outside Staples Center, creating an impromptu memorial with flowers, candles and pictures: "My grandpa is 82 and just had two heart attacks, and he was crying on the phone. It's just so terrible."
At the Mamba Sports Academy, the day's games have been canceled and the parking lot blocked off with traffic cones while a shrine of flowers, candles and a Lakers flag grows.
Shaquille O'Neal, who teamed with Bryant on the Lakers to win three NBA titles, tweets: "There's no words to express the pain Im going through with this tragedy of losing my niece Gigi & my brother @kobebryant I love u and will be missed. … IM SICK RIGHT NOW."
Former President Barack Obama tweets: "Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents."