Dallas Mavericks retire No. 24 to honor Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant never played for the Dallas Mavericks.

The Lakers legend spent his entire 20-year career in Los Angeles.

Yet on Sunday — after Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in Southern California — Dallas owner Mark Cuban made the move to retire Bryant’s No. 24 jersey.

“We are shocked and saddened by the devastating news of the passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna,” Cuban said, via ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. “Kobe was an ambassador for our game, a decorated legend and a global icon. Above all, he was a loving and dedicated father.

“Kobe’s legacy transcends basketball, and our organization has decided that the number 24 will never again be worn by a Dallas Maverick. 

“Our hearts go out to all the lives lost and the families impacted by this terrible tragedy. We send our thoughts and prayers to Vanessa and the family, the Lakers  organization and Kobe Bryant fans everywhere.”

Bryant and his daughter were among nine people killed in the helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday morning, news that sent the sports world into a tailspin. Tributes poured in over social media, in person at the Staples Center, at the Grammys and in all eight NBA games that were played on Sunday.

“We can never forget how precious life is,” Cuban tweeted on Sunday. “How those who are special to you and never let them forget how deeply you love them.

“To all of my friends, thank you. Each of you have shared part of yourself with me and made my life better. I have tried to do the same. If you were here I would hug you like I just hugged my family. It hurts that it takes a tragedy to remind us of our mortality.”

The Dallas Mavericks retired Kobe Bryant's jersey on Sunday after he was killed in a plane crash in Southern California. (Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/Tribune News Service/Getty Images)

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