The HoopsHype Daily: The outpouring of love for Kobe Bryant and his family continues

Kobe Bryant Tribute Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The HoopsHype Daily: The outpouring of love for Kobe Bryant and his family continues

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The HoopsHype Daily: The outpouring of love for Kobe Bryant and his family continues

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Cutthroat competitor. Demanding teammate. Incredible father and family man. Champion. Visionary. Icon.

All words that can be used to describe Kobe Bryant, even if they don’t come remotely close to fully encompassing the player and person the 41-year-old was in life.

On Monday, the tributes for Bryant and his daughter Gianna continued, from current and former players to fans to the biggest names in entertainment, it was easy to see: We’re all still hurting. And that feeling won’t even start subsiding for a long time.

There were the first public comments from LeBron James on the tragic happening. There was the UConn women’s basketball team honoring Gianna Bryant with flowers and a jersey made just for her. There was Jimmy Fallon opening his show with a beautiful tribute to the fallen shooting guard. There was Buddy Hield, who wears No. 24 in honor of Kobe, exploding for a career-high 42 points on 24 shots in a huge comeback road win for the Kings, who happen to be an old Lakers nemesis from Kobe’s glory years. And there were more tributes pouring in from all over the world, from New York City to as far out as the Philippines, too.

We’re all still hurting.

And that especially rings true in Los Angeles, the city Kobe dominated for 20 years while donning the purple and gold, where it was announced that tonight’s previously much-anticipated matchup between the Lakers and Clippers would be postponed until a later date, which was undoubtedly the right decision to make.

NBA:Staples Center-Kobe Bryant Tribute

Jan 27, 2020; Los Angeles, California, USA; Fans gather at LA Live, across the street from Staples Center, to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant who was killed in a helicopter crash Jan 26, 2020. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

There’s just no way the players and coaches on either team, the front-office employees or the fans of L.A. would be ready for what would have been such a heavy basketball game.

We’re all still hurting.

And that particularly rings true for Kobe’s former teammates, such as Maurice Evans, who spent a little over a season (from 2006-07 to 2007-08) on the wing alongside the future Hall-of-Famer. Evans joined Alex Kennedy on the HoopsHype podcast yesterday to celebrate the life of Kobe and share some of his favorite anecdotes from his time as a Laker. Lamar Odom, famous for his contributions to back-to-back Lakers title runs alongside Kobe, spoke lovingly about his old teammate on Instagram.

Lou Williams and Nick Young, who were Lakers alongside Kobe in his final season, provided us with slight comedic relief, at least for a moment, when they shared this hilarious story about Bryant taking away his teammates’ Kobe sneakers and throwing them in the trash because they were too soft to wear them following a blowout loss to the Blazers.

Former playoff foes, like Allen Iverson and Scottie Pippen, likewise shared their heartfelt thoughts on Kobe yesterday, the former on social media and the latter on multiple television appearances. Iverson, in particular, sounds devastated. Another former postseason opponent of Kobe’s, Chris Paul, missed his first game of the season last night as he continues to grieve the loss of his friend. Luka Doncic did play in the contest Paul missed but called it the most difficult game he’s ever had to take part in.

We’re all still hurting.

And that includes all of us, the basketball fanatics who grew up watching Kobe dominate the NBA throughout the late ’90s, ’00s and ’10s, and want to know: Why? How could this happen to someone who we all felt was immortal? Who we all admired so much? Who had so much left to give, as a businessman, a filmmaker and, most importantly, as a father and husband?

Details remain scarce as the investigation is just in the early stages, but we do know the helicopter pilot received permission to fly that ill-fated morning trip, even despite foggy conditions and worse-than-normal visibility. For all the talk of the weather that day, however, authorities say they’re looking into many factors beyond just the conditions, including the helicopter’s maintenance history and the pilot’s records. Authorities are also asking the public for help by sending in pictures taken the morning of accident that depict what the weather was like at the time the helicopter was in the sky.

Knowing the truth of why the horrible, tragic incident took place could give us some sense of closure, even if it won’t change anything.

We’re all still hurting.

And that’s all right. We will be for a while.

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