THE NBFTT (National Basketball Federation of TT) is mourning the loss of NBA legend Kobe Bryant who died on Sunday afternoon.
The 41-year-old died in a helicopter crash in California. His daughter Gianna also died, along with seven others, according to US media. They were headed to a basketball game in which Gianna was set to participate in.
NBFTT president Claire Mitchell told Newsday it was "a sad day in the history of basketball."
At the women's division finals of the NBFTT National Invitational Championships, at the Maloney Indoor Complex, TT Police Service and TT Defense Force agreed that after the jump ball, the team that won the jump would let the 24-second clock run out in tribute to Bryant who wore the number 24 for the Los Angeles Lakers. Once a team gains possession basketball, they have 24 seconds to shoot.
The federation also issued a press release on Monday, praising the athlete's dedication to the sport, his contributions and his work ethic. It said, "The basketball fraternity was sunk into mourning yesterday (Sunday).
"Kobe Bryant has impacted the world through his dedication, persistence, work ethic, mindset, grit, intelligence and will to win – what is now dubbed the Mamba Mentality. Kobe has touched the hearts and souls of many of our young male and female basketballers who spend their lives dreaming of becoming the next Kobe Bryant.
"This legend is undoubtedly one of the best basketballers the world has ever seen and some of us were truly blessed to see him live, and remotely on our television sets."
It said the federation's sadness is "immeasurable," describing the death as a "monumental loss to basketball."
NBFTT vice-president, marketing and communication Stefan Dillon told Newsday he fell into a "deep state of sadness" after hearing the news.
He said he would often tell people that in his opinion, Kobe was the G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time).
"Following his journey for all these years, as a fan you tend to build an emotional connection to people who you idolise. I felt like I knew him personally, you knew about his personal life, his family, kids, his future plans, along with his impact on the sport of basketball.
"What's even more hurtful is the manner in which his death occurred knowing he had so much more to offer even in his post career."
He offered condolences to the athlete's friends, family and loved ones, as well as those of the other victims.
Bryant played for the Lakers for his entire 20-year professional basketball career, winning five NBA championships and two Olympic gold medals.