It might be somewhat surprising, but there are things that Richard Branson hasn't done.
Up until Wednesday, that list included attending an NBA game. But now the British billionaire can cross that off after taking in Wednesday's Bulls-Hawks tilt at the United Center.
Branson's in town to open a Virgin hotel, so he decided to take part in one of Chicago's best traditions: rooting on the Bulls.
"Obviously I'm supporting the Bulls," Branson told CSN's Chuck Garfien. "I thought they were going to be wiped out in the beginning, but they've come back very strongly. It's great to have a front-row seat, and it's wonderful to learn about it."
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Branson got the full Bulls-game experience, including taking to the court with Benny the Bull and getting launched into some giant bowling pins. Seriously.
Take a look:
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Branson was obviously paying close attention to the game, commenting on the Bulls' sluggish start and comeback to make it a game in the second quarter.
"They started very slowly, but now they seem to have their strong team on," Branson said. "If they can keep up like this, maybe we'll have a good party to celebrate."
Now that's the right idea! Branson's got this American sports thing all figured out already.
According to a report from TMZ Sports, later confirmed by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and ABC 7 News, Kobe Bryant has died in a helicopter crash over Calabasas Sunday morning. This is extremely heartbreaking news that has stunned everyone and the Bulls community weighed in, paying their respects and sharing their emotions on Sunday afternoon:
Former Bulls also shared their thoughts on the sad news on Sunday:
Bryant was one of the NBA's greatest players but his impact was wide-reaching throughout all of sports. This was something that was clear on Sunday when members of the media, team owners, as well as athletes from the NFL, MLB, and much more took some time to state how much Bryant meant to his family, sports, and the world at large:
In a moment of touching tribute, the Spurs and Raptors began their Sunday afternoon game by taking intentional 24-second shot clock violations, in honor of Bryant:
Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar honored Bryant by throwing up a "24" salute after scoring a goal on Sunday:
Kobe Bryant's co-star throughout the Lakers dynasty of the 2000s was none other than Hall of Famer Shaquille O'Neal, who put out a heartfelt message on social media:
The story appears to still be developing and is truly terrible, terrible news that has shell-shocked the basketball world at large. Bryant was 41-years old at the reported time of his death.
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On Sunday Jan. 26, Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, CA.
TMZ Sports first reported the news. Shortly afterwards, the Los Angeles County Sheriffs confirmed the crash. According to the LA County Sheriffs, there were no survivors:
NBC News and Yahoo Sports, among others, later confirmed the report that Bryant was among those that perished:
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski has confirmed reports that Bryant's daughter, Gianna Bryant, was on board the helicopter, as well:
In a press conference, the LA County Sheriffs said that nine were killed in the crash, including the pilot.
Here are statements from the NBAPA, NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Michael Jordan in regards to the news:
Bryant played 20 years in the NBA, all with the Los Angeles Lakers, winning five NBA championships, one league MVP, two Finals MVPs and appearing in 18 All-Star games. Bryant ended his career third on the NBA's all-time scoring list with 33,643 points. LeBron James usurped that mark last night, prompting Bryant's last tweet:
Bryant is survived by his wife, Vanessa, with whom he had four daughters. He was 41 years old. Gianna was 13.
Editor's Note: This story has been updated with details that emerged after initial publishing.