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Texas Longhorns' Shaka Smart reflects on Kobe Bryant

"I think in sports, there are select figures that are truly larger than life. You don't really think of them as mortals and Kobe definitely was that."

AUSTIN, Texas — The world was in awe and disbelief on Sunday when the news broke that Kobe Bryant had died in a helicopter crash in Southern California. 

Bryant was reportedly headed to a basketball game with his daughter, Gianna, when the helicopter crashed. After word was out about the Black Mamba's passing, condolences and mourning were shared publicly around the world. 

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On Monday, University of Texas head basketball coach Shaka Smart told KVUE his reaction to the news. 

"A bunch of us were her working in our facility and I was downstairs with our strength coach when our athletic trainer came and told us the news. When he said it, you just don't really believe it," Smart told KVUE. "I think in sports, there are select figures that are truly larger than life. You don't really think of them as mortals and Kobe definitely was that."

Other Texas figures, athletes and even other former Longhorns shared their grief for the loss of Bryant on their social media pages. 

RELATED: Texas athletes, celebrities, public figures react to reports of Kobe Bryant's death

Bryant was an 18-time NBA All-Star, two-time Olympic gold medalist and won five championships. Considered among the greatest basketball players, Bryant played 20 years as a Los Angeles Laker and was the league's 2008 MVP. He also won an Academy Award in 2018 for his work in "Dear Basketball," an animated short film about his relationship with the sport. 

He was 41 years old.

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