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Kobe Bryant's death has sent ripples of grief across the entire sporting community.

Being a professional athlete is a unique job.

Only a select handful of people in the world get to experience it.

But watching the ripples of grief spread through the entire sporting community after NBA great Kobe Bryant’s death, it’s evident just how blurred the lines are from sport to sport.

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant was one of the best sporting talents of our time. Image: by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images.

Whether you're a golfer, tennis player or basketballer - as a professional athlete, you share a bond.

You understand the level of training, fandom, game-day pressure, and travel your sporting peers experience. You get inspiration from the greats of other sports. You appreciate talent, and drive and hard work - even in your opponents.

That bond was made even more obvious with Clippers coach Doc Rivers' reaction to Kobe's passing.

Watch it here. Post continues after video.

Video by NBATV

Breaking down in tears, an emotional Doc told a reporter: "I just don't have a lot to say, the news is just devastating to everyone who knew him. He means a lot to me obviously. He was such a great opponent. It's what you want in sports".

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Even one of Kobe's greatest rivals mourned him like a friend.

Nine people died on Monday morning in the Californian crash that killed not just Kobe Bryant, but his 13-year-old daughter Gianna or "Gigi".

All of the victims were united in their love of basketball, with two of Gigi's teammates Alyssa Atlobelli and her parents John and Keri, Payton Chester and her mum Sarah, along with Coach Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan, all killed.

PLANE-VICTIMS
Nine people died in the plane crash on Monday morning, including of of Kobe's four daughters. Images: Facebook/Instagram.

Last night, tennis great Novak Djokovic broke down in tears over Kobe's death.

He'd just won in straight sets against Miloz Raonic at the Australian Open, when he was asked to reflect on the basketball star.

"I don't know what we could say... it really caught us by surprise, he was one of the greatest athletes of all time. He inspired myself and many other people around the world," the Serbian replied, fighting back tears.

He'd worn a tailor made jacket emblazoned with Kobe's initials into Rod Laver Arena.

The day before Nick Kyrgios did the same, donning an LA Lakers jersey before telling the crowd about his love for basketball while fighting back tears.

nick kyrious
Nick Kyrgios tears up as he walks onto Rod Laver Arena wearing a number 8 Kobe Bryant Jersey ahead of his Men's Singles fourth round match against Rafael Nadal. Image: Quinn Rooney/Getty.
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"It's super sad. He was one of the greatest sportsmen in history. He deserves a big round of applause," Nick said in his on-court interview.

Fellow tennis star Naomi Osaka also looked to Kobe for inspiration, writing on Twitter, "Thank you for inspiring people everywhere, you have no idea how many hearts you've touched".

Of course, amongst Kobe's team itself the grief was incredibly raw.

Lakers player LeBron James broke down in tears at the airport.

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Kyle Kuzma, another current Laker, wrote on Instagram how Bryant inspired him from a young age, writing, "I've been messed up all day... I grew up trying to be like you".

Over in the world of golf, Tiger Woods found out about his friend's death while playing the final round at the Farmers Insurance Open. Woods’ caddie, Joe LaCava, was informed by two on-course reporters about the tragic helicopter crash but knowing Woods had a close relationship with the former Lakers star, made the immediate decision not to tell him.

As Woods played the back nine, fans from outside the ropes were yelling, ‘‘Do it for Mamba,’’ referring to Bryant’s nickname. But Woods didn't get the reference until later.

This video shows the moment he found out.

When Tiger owned a house in Newport, California, they'd see each other regularly. But even after he moved to Florida he'd keep in touch with the basketballer.

“He paid attention to the details, the little things. The amount of hours that he spent in the gym in the offseason and during the summers to work on shots and do all the different things, it looked like it came natural to him on the court during game time, but he spent more hours looking at film and trying to figure out what’s the best way to become better," he told CBS Sports just 15 minutes after finding out about his death.

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“That’s where he and I really connected, because we’re very similar. We both came in the league — well, he came in the league and I turned pro right around the same time and we had our 20-year run together. It’s shocking," he added.

In soccer, former England captain David Beckham called Kobe "one special athlete" on Instagram.

"The commitment Kobe showed to his sport was inspiring, to go through the pain and to finish a game off like only he could inspired me to try to be better," he wrote.

In Formula One, champion Lewis Hamilton spoke of how Kobe inspired him.

Despite the complexities in Kobe's story, and let's be frank, his legacy is complicated given the 2003 rape allegations levelled against him by a 19-year-old girl, and the many reported instances of infidelity, in the sporting world he was a hero.

In their universe, he was one of the best sporting greats of our time.

He was an 18-time All-Star, was the fourth-highest scorer in NBA history and won an MVB in 2008, to name just a few of his achievements.

His death is sending ripples amongst champions from every game in the world, and as we are finding out after his death he was a mentor and inspiration to some of the best-of-the-best.

Feature Image: Getty.

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