Kobe Bryant's sisters Sharia Washington and Shaya Tabb has spoken out on the tragic deaths of their brother, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and the seven other victims who died in a helicopter crash last week in Calabasas, Calif.
They told iOne Digital in a statement, "On behalf of our family, we join Vanessa, Natalia, Bianka and Capri in grieving the loss of Kobe and Gianna in such a tragic accident. We are devastated by the loss of our brother, son, our niece and granddaughter, and our hearts go out to all the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday."
They added, "Our lives are forever changed" and thanked the public for their "prayers, the numerous calls, texts, emails and cards."
KOBE BRYANT'S FAMILY CALLS OUT THE MEDIA'S USE OF 'UNNAMED SOURCES' IN CLICKBAIT STORIES ABOUT HIS DEATH
Meanwhile, Kobe's family criticized the media for the false reports that have emerged since his death. Kobe Inc. president Molly Carter said in a statement via The Los Angeles Times, "We are disappointed in some media's broad use of unnamed sources and blind quotes, and remind everyone that the Bryant family will speak on our own behalf when appropriate. To this point, no one has been authorized to speak on behalf of the family regarding any personal details surrounding Sunday's tragedy, including stories related to the family's previous air travel decisions. We ask members of the media for respect and responsible judgment during this difficult time. These inaccurate reports only add unnecessary pain to a grieving family."
THE LAKERS PAY TRIBUTE TO KOBE BRYANT
In other news, The Los Angeles Lakers honored Kobe Bryant with a tribute before the first game following his death on Friday (January 31st). According to TMZ, LeBron gave a speech and performances by Usher, who gave a powerful rendition of "Amazing Grace," cellist Ben Hong and Wiz Khalifah and Charlie Puth performed "See You Again" during halftime. Boyz II Men also performed The National Anthem.
LeBron James also gave a moving speech, saying, "I look at this as a celebration tonight. This is a celebration of the 20 years of the blood, the sweat, the tears, the broken-down body, the getting up, the sitting down, the everything, the countless hours, the determination to be as great as you could be. . . . I wanna continue along with my teammates to continue his legacy. Not only for this year, but as long as we can play the game of basketball that we love, because that's what Kobe Bryant would want. So in the words of Kobe Bryant, 'Mamba Out' ... but in the words of us, 'Not forgotten.' Live on, brother.'"
During the tribute, Vanessa Bryant posted a photo of Kobe and Gigi's jerseys court side at Staples, writing, "There is no #24 without #2. #GirlDaddy #DaddysGirl #MyBabies #OurAngels."AUDIO: LEBRON JAMES SPEECH TO KOBE BRYANT