Kobe Bryant's passing was a shock to the entire NBA community.
Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others passed away in a helicopter accident on January 26th of this year. It was shocking news at the time and even a month later, it still doesn't feel real. Today, the Staples Center will be holding a public memorial for Kobe and Gianna. This memorial will host thousands of Lakers fans who are hoping to pay their respects for one final time.
For Lakers players, Kobe's death was not just a shock but also heartbreaking news that has completely changed the course of their season. In a feature with ESPN’s Dave McMenamin, Anthony Davis spoke about the moment the Lakers team flight found out about the tragic accident.
So I remove one of my headphones, and I look,” Davis said. “And Dwight tells me, ‘Man, Kobe died.’ And me thinking as invincible as Kobe Bryant is, I’m like, ‘Kobe who?’ Because I’m like, that’s not — it’s not Kobe Bryant. And he was like, ‘Kobe.’ And I was like, ‘OK. Kobe who? I’m not sure who you’re talking about.’ And he was like, ‘Kobe Bryant.’ And at this time, Bron is still asleep. So I was like, ‘Wait, what? How? Like, I need details, like, tell me.’ And he was like, ‘Man, helicopter crash.'”
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Eventually, Lakers players began to wake up and news spread to everyone, including LeBron James. At first, LeBron couldn't believe what he was being told. His reaction was like many others on the team who were holding out hope that the reports could have been a mistake.
“I remember the first thing Bron said to me was, ‘Man, y’all stop playin’ — like, stop playing with me,'” Davis recalled. “And I’m trying to get on the internet. And Dwight, like, you can see him start crying. He was like, ‘It’s true.'”
Kobe Bryant is perhaps the greatest Lakers player of all-time and his impact still lives on. The Lakers will be looking to win the championship for him and as it stands, they have the whole city of Los Angeles behind them.