Belichick released a statement Tuesday, via ESPN's Field Yates, in which he reacted to Sunday's tragedy in Calabasas, Calif., where Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others died in a helicopter crash.
"This is an extremely sad time for the entire sports community," Belichick said. "In my 45 years in the NFL, I have never witnessed a group as captivated as the day Kobe addressed our team two years ago. The respect and reverence he commanded far exceeded him being a legendary player.
"He was a special person with an unmatched passion, intensity and mentality toward achieving his goals. Kobe's determination led to a brilliant athletic career and paved the way for successes in the next chapters of his life. By bringing joy to millions of people with his extraordinary athletic ability, inspiring people to elevate the standard for anything they do or performing countless acts of encouragement, Kobe Bryant's lasting impact is immeasurable. I hope our collective thoughts and prayers can help provide strength to the families of all the victims of this tragedy."
Bryant spoke to the Patriots at Gillette Stadium in May of 2018, and it's clear he inspired those who were in attendance. The Patriots won Super Bowl LIII later that season.
Many other Patriots players, current and retired, have sent their thoughts and prayers to the families of the victims, while also sharing some of their favorite memories of Bryant and how he positively affected them.
Patriots coach Bill Belichick releases statement on death of Kobe Bryant originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston