BOSTON (CBS) — As the sports world continues to mourn, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has offered up his own thoughts on the sudden and shocking loss of Kobe Bryant.

Prior to the 2018 season, Belichick invited Bryant to speak to the Patriots. In that meeting, Belichick said Bryant had every single player’s complete attention and respect.

“This is an extremely sad time for the entire sports community. 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,” Belichick said in a statement, shared by ESPN’s Field Yates. “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.”

Bryant’s visit took place in May 2018, and a number of players turned into fans, eager to snap a photo with the legend.

Stephon Gilmore with Kobe Bryant (Screen shot via Instagram/bumpnrungilmore)

Belichick continued: “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 provided strength to the families of all the victims of this tragedy.”

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