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Lakers GM Rob Pelinka Releases Statement On Kobe, Gianna Bryant

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 18: Magic Johnson, Jeanie Buss, Kobe Bryant, wife Vanessa Bryant and daughters Gianna Maria Onore Bryant, Natalia Diamante Bryant, Bianka Bella Bryant and Rob Pelinka pose for a picture during Kobe Bryant's jersey retirement ceremony at halftime of a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on December 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)

LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 18: Magic Johnson, Jeanie Buss, Kobe Bryant, wife Vanessa Bryant and daughters Gianna Maria Onore Bryant, Natalia Diamante Bryant, Bianka Bella Bryant and Rob Pelinka pose for a picture during Kobe Bryant's jersey retirement ceremony at halftime of a basketball game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center on December 18, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)

Before he became the general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers, Rob Pelinka was a sports agent. Most notably, he was Kobe Bryant's agent.

Over time, Pelinka and Bryant shared more than just a agent/client relationship. They became close friends, and Pelinka was even the godfather of Bryant's daughter Gianna.

As you can imagine, the loss of Kobe and Gianna in Sunday's tragic helicopter accident has hit Pelinka particularly hard. The 50-year-old executive released a lengthy and heartfelt statement on Kobe and Gianna Bryant's deaths a short time ago.

The first line of the address is absolutely heartbreaking.

"On Sunday, I lost my best friend and my sweet goddaughter," Pelinka wrote. "With that, there has been an amputation of part of my soul."

That is just gut-wrenching. The rest of Pelinka's statement is a wonderful tribute to Kobe and his daughter, and it is worth reading.

The Lakers return to the court tomorrow night to face the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center. The amount of emotion that will be in the building will be immeasurable.