Michael Jordan has released a statement following Kobe Bryant's passing, revealing that he saw Bryant as his little brother.

"I am in shock over the tragic news of Kobe's and Gianna's passing. Words can't describe the pain I'm feeling. I loved Kobe – he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often and I will miss those conversations very much," said Jordan.

"He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force. Kobe was also an amazing dad who loved his family deeply – and took great pride in his daughter's love for the game of basketball. Yvette joins me in sending my deepest condolences to Vanessa, the Lakers organization and basketball fans around the world."

Bryant, who spent his entire career with the Lakers, was an 18-time All-Star and 11-time All-NBA first-teamer led the Lakers to five NBA championships and scored 33,643 points in his 20-year NBA career. He retired 2015-16 season.