n a tragic turn of events, NBA legend Kobe Bean Bryant was reportedly killed along with his daughter Gianna 'Gigi' Bryant and seven others when the helicopter they boarded crashed. The incident reportedly happened less than an hour after the 1991-built Sikorsky S-76B left John Wayne airport en route to the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California. Fans and other athletes were evidently devastated upon hearing the news and paid tribute to the 41-year-old basketball in various ways. Now, players who boot up their game of "NBA 2K20" are apparently greeted a different welcome screen.

Bryant was an iconic player who was very competitive, which earned him the respect and admiration of people around the world. As with every other NBA superstar that has been digitised into the game, he was one of the few who was immortalised on the cover art of the sports title. He appeared on NBA 2K10 and on the Legend Edition of "NBA 2K17."

Totally heartbroken. He’s a big reason why I and many 2K fans grew to love basketball. His drive for getting the most out of life is to be aspired especially in the light of this absolutely tragedy. Life is short, we all need to live it to its fullest.#RIPKobe pic.twitter.com/Nx5uARg2HS

— Ronnie 2K 2K20 (@Ronnie2K) January 26, 2020

According to Forbes, even before the new welcome screen popped up on "NBA 2K20," some of the developers and people from the marketing team of the publisher posted their thoughts on social media. One from @Ronnie2K read "Totally heartbroken. He's a big reason why I and many 2K fans grew to love basketball." This just one of the many heartfelt messages left by some of the staff on Twitter regarding the heart-breaking passing of Bryant.

Those who launch the game will see a welcome splash screen that shows a grayscale image of the player on the left with his name inscribed to the right. Then there are the years of his birth and death listed just below, while everything is set on a black background. Fans of the NBA video game franchise lauded the game studio for its gesture.

RIP to a Legend. Thank you for your many contributions on and off the court. You are greatly missed pic.twitter.com/XesYS63Uhp

— NBA 2K20 (@NBA2K) January 26, 2020

In addition to this simple "NBA 2K20" homage to Bryant, others hope that other future game-related events or gameplay content developed by 2K Games linked to the deceased NBA icon, would not be monetised in any way. His daughter, Gianna, shared his love for basketball and is noted to have inherited her father's athleticism and passion for the game.

Kobe Byrant dies in helicopter crash
Kobe Bryant, a five-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist, is widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players in history. Photo: AFP / Emmanuel DUNAND