Bryant, 41, his daughter Gianna, 13, and seven others died in a helicopter crash on Sunday, January 26, in Calabasas, California. Determining what caused the crash will take months, federal investigators said.
Shaquille O’Neal broke down in tears last week on Tuesday, knowing that he won’t be able to have another conversation with Kobe Bryant or celebrate his former teammate’s induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
“I haven’t felt a pain that sharp in a while,” O’Neal said during a TNT tribute to Bryant on the Staples Center floor, where he was joined by Dwyane Wade, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, Ernie Johnson, Reggie Miller, and Jerry West.
“The fact that we are not going to be able to joke at his Hall of Fame ceremony, the fact that we are not going to be able to say, ‘Ha, I got five. You got four [championships],'” said O’Neal. O’Neal, noted that in his eyes, there never will be a better center-guard duo in NBA history than Bryant and himself.
Kobe Bryant had one of the best legacies in NBA history. Kobe won 5 NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. His other awards include 2 NBA Finals MVP, 18x NBA All-Star, 4x NBA All-Star Game MVP, NBA MVP (2008), 11x All NBA First Team, 2x All NBA Second Team, 9x NBA All-Defensive First Team, 3x NBA All-Defensive Second Team, and NBA Slam Dunk Contest Champion (1997).
He also played on the USA basketball Olympic team in 2008 and 2012. He had a great NBA career, and he was loved by millions of Americans around the country. He would dominate on and off the court. He helped build the Staples Center in LA.
He also was a mentor for his daughter Gianni Bryant, aka Gigi, who was also killed in the helicopter crash. Kobe helped coach his daughter’s basketball team and helped his daughter practice on and off the court.
As a basketball fan, I have always admired Kobe’s work for the Lakers organization as he helped build the organization and the Staples Center. I remember watching the 2010 Finals and seeing Kobe put on a show. Kobe helped the Lakers win an NBA Championship that year against the Boston Celtics. Kobe means so much to me because he is a Philadelphia native and went to school at Lower Merion High School and elevated to the NBA after he graduated.
Kobe is one of the greatest players to ever play earning awards and striving for greatness. He helped me to never give up, and I know that to be successful you have to have that “Mamba Mentality,” just like him.