Brad Townsend: Several readers asked me, so I asked @Ma…

More on Kobe Bryant Death
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Larry Nance Jr. has a signed Kobe Bryant jersey. It hangs framed and centered in the basement of his home in the Cleveland area. That jersey is an item along with photos, videos and the memories that Nance holds close. “He was just such a huge part of my story as a basketball player, as a person,” he said.
Nance’s NBA career had just begun in Los Angeles as Bryant’s came to a close in 2015-16. The juxtaposition between their stages of life created a space for learning. Nance had much to learn as a rookie in the NBA. Bryant never stopped learning, subsequently teaching the impressionable rookies and young players. “Just watching him you could see his passion for the game. Forget the game, his passion for just wanting to learn,” Nance said. “We had guys come in the locker room and speaking different languages, Marcelo Huertas speaking Brazilian and Portuguese and all this stuff, and Kobe would do his best to pick up on that. And just his thirst for knowledge was just really impressive.”
Goran Dragic: 💔 🙏🏼 #BlackMambaForever #MambacitaForever
Scottie Pippen: It still feels like a horrible dream, but I wanted to share a few words about Kobe as we mourn losing him, his beautiful daughter Gianna, and the others who tragically passed. I remember when Kobe first got into the league. I told MJ during a workout, "This kid plays like you, talks like you, walks like you, he even sticks his tongue out like you. He's going to be special." Right away, it was obvious that Kobe was insanely competitive, supremely confident and as driven as anyone I've ever seen. In his early years, we were still in our prime. But you could see what he was thinking: "Y'all better than me now, but that's not going to last." Kobe wanted to be like Mike, and who didn't? He modeled his game after MJ's and aspired to be the best. But behind the scenes, Kobe was picking everybody's brains. I loved his approach. He had so much respect for the game, his teammates and his competition.
Scottie Pippen: When Kobe was still playing, he'd call or text on occasion and we'd talk about basketball. He was so curious and he asked a lot about how to become a better defender and play certain guys. I'll always cherish those conversations. He cared so much about the game and winning, and had an insatiable drive to constantly learn and improve. Championships and MVPs aside, those are the things that will define his legacy. For all the glory he achieved as a player, I think he was happiest in these recent years. Retirement for guys like him isn't easy, but he was enjoying as much success off the court as he did on it. He loved his family more than anything in the world. I'm devastated and I feel like I lost a part of me. Kobe was amazing, a champion and an icon, and it's impossibly difficult to know he's not here anymore. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Vanessa, daughters Natalia, Bianka and Capri, and his extended family and friends. There will never be another Black Mamba. RIP
“It’s like losing my son,” West said with a strain in his voice. “I think about his family. I think about his daughter who was lost, and to watch him with his daughters and his family, to watch the time and effort he put into his (Mamba Sports) academy (in Southern California), was something that most athletes never consider. And to see his career change the way it did (including Bryant winning an Oscar for his animated short, “Dear Basketball” in March 2018), it’s just amazing. He was going to make a legendary career outside of basketball, and it was taken away so quickly. … It’s just indescribable to me.”
"It would be impossible for me to describe the look on a face, but you know the look of somebody that has it," said Kurt Rambis, then an assistant coach for the Lakers. "It's fear. It's doubt. It's hesitation. It's they're uncomfortable. They don't believe in themselves. You can just kind of see that in a person when they're going to the free-throw line in a difficult situation or they've missed the front end of two free throws or sitting on the bench. It's just very clear to me with that look that they just don't believe. You never saw that in Kobe. It was almost like indifference. It was like, yeah, f--- it. You just knew it wasn't going to bother him. You just knew that."
Draymond Green: I’ve waited and waited with hope that this bad dream would end and I never had to make this post. Hoping that someone would report that it wasn’t You in that helicopter like they initially thought. I went to sleep on the couch yesterday while they talked about you on TV. I thought I’d wake up and the story would be gone. Only to wake up to more details of you being GONE. Kobe, I thank you for being the person that you were, the big brother that you were. Not only to myself but to many others. You left a legacy that’ll NEVER be forgotten. We lost one of the good guys. I’ll continue to pray for the Bryant family as well as all the other families affected by this horrific tragedy! RIP BEAN #GoneTooSoon
Anthony Davis: Man this is a tough one for me! You were the first guy to put me under your wing and show me the ins and outs of the league. Had so many great convos about so many things and I will cherish those moments forever. Love you forever, Bean! #RIPKobe #RIPGiGi 😔
K.C. Johnson: Zach LaVine: “It’s just a terrible situation. I idolized Kobe. He’s one of reasons I wear No. 8.”
But Bryant wasn’t going to settle for less. By this time, he had won five rings. By this time, he was already immortal. But, the competitiveness was still there. And that competitiveness would never waver. “That’s the main thing that I will always remember,” Davis told The Athletic. “No matter what, he always thought that he had a chance to win. He wouldn’t settle for anything less than winning. I remember when I got there, he was in like his 16th season. He put so much detail into everything he did. Sprints. Full court one-on-one. Everything. I was in awe of his work ethic.”
Sixers players and staff were still reeling from the news that former NBA star Kobe Bryant, 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter crash Sunday in Southern California. “He was my hero,” said forward Tobias Harris. “I tried to model my worth ethic after a guy like Kobe. When I heard the news, I just couldn’t believe it.”
Like my brother @kobebryant would say “put that work in to be great”. So in honor of you big brother I’ll be putting that work in everyday to get back to @thebig3 💪🏿💪🏿💪🏿 Thank you Baby Doll @getuptoparr for getting me to the gym . Bean would have been proud of me today after such a tragic day yesterday me getting my ass to the gym. Without you here considering what I’m going thru I’d prolly be somewhere sniffing a line
Officials say they have recovered three bodies from the crash site -- but have not specified on the IDs of those bodies. Officials worked well into the night on Sunday but had to suspend the search due to darkness and safety concerns. The search resumed Monday morning. No word on if any other bodies have recovered in Monday's search.
The pilot flying Kobe Bryant and seven others Sunday was given clearance to fly in worse than normal weather conditions, without relying on instruments to guide him, according to recordings of his communications with air traffic controllers. Shortly before the helicopter crashed, killing everyone on board, the pilot was approved for what’s known as special visual flight rules, according to audio reviewed by The Washington Post. In the recording, the pilot requests to fly under the special conditions.
NBA Central: Statement from Allen Iverson on the Passing of Kobe Bryant: Words cannot express how I'm feeling today. The only 2 words that ring in my head- devastated and heartbroken. I cannot seem to shake this feeling no matter what I've tried to do since hearing this yesterday. People will always remember how we competed against each other in the league, but it goes so much deeper than that for me. The story of us being drafted in arguably the deepest class of its kind ever in the history of the NBA can be debated for many years to come. However, his generosity and respect for the game is something that I witnessed first-hand every time we stepped on the dance floor to compete. It's one memory of him that I can't stop thinking about. It was our rookie season and my first trip to LA for a game against the Lakers. He came to my hotel, picked me up and took me to a restaurant. When we returned before he left, he asked me, "what are you going to do tonight"? My reply was, "I'm going to the club, what are you going to do?"
He said, "I'm going to the gym." That is who he always was, a true student of the game of basketball and also the game of life. He prepared relentlessly. There is something we can all learn from the "Mamba" mentality and from the way my brother lived his life. He will always have my respect as a competitor, as a friend, as a brother. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Vanessa, their children and the families of all of the victims of yesterday's tragedy. As a father, I cannot wrap my head around how they must feel. We are not okay. But we will find the strength to pull through this together because that's what Kobe would want us to do.
Jon Krawczynski: Luke Walton: Shock. Denial. One of the harder times if my life. It’s heartbreaking and tough to deal with
Tom Moore: #Sixers GM Elton Brand, who played much of 2000s with #Clippers in LA: 'Kobe meant a lot to us all. It wasn’t just what he accomplished, but how he accomplished it – with his hard work, tenacity & his passion. We all lost someone that was special to us, special to this area.'
Eric Walden: Rudy Gobert, on Kobe Bryant: “When I first started playing basketball, I didn’t know nobody. ‘Space Jam’ was the only thing I knew about basketball. Most of the kids I was playing with had jerseys with No. 8 and ‘Bryant’ on the back. I didn’t know who that was.”
Rod Beard: #Pistons Andre Drummond on Kobe Bryant: "He was the Michael Jordan of our generation. Anybody that got a chance to see Jordan play and see him play, they’re both identical players with the same accolades. He was our hero for our generation."
Jayson Tatum: Heart broken. My Hero. My Idol. The reason I started to play this game, the reason I fell in love with this game. Growing up wanting to be just like you, to you becoming a mentor, beyond thankful for everything you’ve done for me. “I didn’t have a plan B I put all my eggs in one basket and I knew I was going to make it happen” hearing you say that stuck with me everyday of my life. You inspired me and I am forever grateful more than you know! Love you Bean 🙏🏽❤️! Sad, sad, sad day RIP Kobe and Gianna! Praying for the family!
Jokic admitted it was tough to play under such somber news but admitted to making the most of Kobe Bryant’s maniacally competitive mindset to go out on the floor, regardless of injuries or anything else. “When you think about Kobe it’s ‘no excuse.’ Nothing can put your mind off what you love to do,” said Jokic.
They loved each other. They hated each other. Their in-game conversations: not loving. Post-game: better. “All throughout our career, you’ll see a couple of pictures where we’re talking and smiling. Then you’ll see a couple of pictures where we’re right here (nose-to-nose), finger-pointing,” Carter said. “It’s just how the game was played. You had to bring it. He wanted the challenge, and he wanted to out-duel you, and if you weren’t prepared for it, you would get embarrassed.”
Hillary Clinton reacted to the horrible news of Kobe Bryant's death the same way as everyone else -- she was stunned, momentarily speechless ... then heartbroken. The former Secretary of State was at Sundance in Park City, UT Sunday following the premiere of her new docuseries, "Hillary" ... and we broke the tragic news to her. Hillary came back around later and touched on the passing of the NBA legend, saying she couldn't believe it until she checked her phone ... and felt anguished that it was real. She called Kobe's death an "incredible loss ... in every way," echoing the sentiments of millions still reeling from the sad news.
That was what he cared about as his basketball career came to an end: passing on what he had learned. What it really took to be Kobe Bryant. Not to be understood, because that was impossible with a soul as ruthless and relentless as his. But to inspire. It's all I can think about now, as I grieve his death in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, Sunday morning that killed eight others, including his daughter Gianna. "I enjoy passing things on," he told me in 2016. "Some people want to take it with them to the grave. Like 'Lord of the Rings.' The world is filled with a lot of Smeagols [who] can't let go of the damn ring."
We talked often about Joseph Campbell and "The Hero's Journey" that year. Kobe had read it cover to cover. Studied it deeply as both the author of his own legend throughout his 20-year career and the future author of what he hoped would be a second career as a legendary storyteller. I told him I wasn't buying his lack of nostalgia or nerves as his final game approached. He wouldn't concede that point either. "I wasn't at home stewing and thinking and mulling over the game," he shrugged. "I was already working towards the future. Then it was about doing it one last time, as best as I can."
Kobe Bryant had already made plans for his daughter, Gianna -- AKA GiGi -- to follow in his legendary footsteps by filing to trademark her very own hoops nickname. TMZ Sports obtained the paperwork Kobe filed for "Mambacita" on Dec. 30, 2019. Of course, the name is both a tip of the hat to GiGi's father -- the Black Mamba -- and also to her own growing prowess on the hardcourt. According to the docs ... the plan was to put "Mambacita" on all sorts of sportswear -- shirts, shorts, hats, jerseys, sweatpants, sweatshirts and hoodies.
After the game, Ariza requested to not be interviewed. It was just too tough. Anthony, meanwhile, was asked why he played. “Honestly, knowing him, the way I know him,” Anthony said, “he would have wanted me to play.”
“I’m on Kobe’s team, and Kobe is like we are going to pair up in twos — Jannero you are with me,” Pargo said. “I’ve never been paintballing before, so I’m like ‘OK, cool. This is going to be fun.’ Then, they starting shooting the paintballs at us, and Kobe, I kid you not …” Pargo gets intense, and into a crouch. He imitates Kobe pointing back and forth from his eyes to Pargo’s eyes, much like a field general would do with his troops. “He wanted to win,” Pargo said. “He did not want to lose. And it was Kobe, so you could not hesitate. When Kobe said go, I gotta go.” Udoka ended up getting pelted multiple times on his arm. Pargo got plastered in the back by Slava Medvedenko. But when the paint stopped flying, only one team was left standing: Kobe’s.
"He was a supernatural," Italian coach Ettore Messina, who worked with Bryant as an assistant for the Lakers, told the AP via text message Sunday while traveling with his current club, Olimpia Milano. "To hear him speak and joke in our language and to remember when his father played here and he was a kid drew a lot of people to the NBA," Messina added. "He was also always very attentive to help Italian kids arriving in the NBA and to help them enter such a tough and competitive world. He also did that with me when I arrived at the Lakers and I'm still very grateful to him for that. It's very sad that his family has been devastated like this."
Lamar Odom: These picture are just the tip of the iceberg of our relationship. He taught me so many things in life that were necessary on and off the court. On the court he taught me how to carve out defenses and how to take my time. How to make winning my ultimate goal. Off the court he taught me to sign my own checks lol. Of course anyone who knows my story knows I’ve suffered a lot of loss but the only loss I can compare this to is when I lost my son. Even though our relationship wasn’t father/son, it was more like him being a teacher and me being his brother.
Lamar Odom: I’m glad I got to be the ying to your yang as far as the locker room was concerned. It was my pleasure. I couldn’t even catch my breath today when I heard this news. I just knew if he was in a helicopter crash he would have been the one to survive. Somehow he would have jumped out and landed on his feet. I’m sitting here thinking about when we would be in practice scrimmaging and you would start the jump ball off with elbowing Sasha in the chest. Like dude it’s 10:30 in the morning lol. You think watching him play was crazy, you gotta think in practice if you scored like 8-9 buckets throughout the practice you had a great practice. I’ve seen him knock off 13-14 in a row in practice!!!! I’m still waiting for the media to come out and say wrong report. No way God took my brother this early. I know I been through my own stuff in life with using drugs and not being good to myself. When I went through that Coma situation if God would have came to me and said we would take me and spare Kobe I would have rather that happened. In honor of my brother I’m up at 4am tomorrow to get to the gym! Gigi gone give you buckets!!!! I love you brother 💔🙏🏿😥 @kobebryant
Tobias Harris: Woke up this morning wishing yesterday was just a bad dream. Still can’t wrap my head around all that has transpired. Praying, thinking, questioning, trusting. Kobe, Gigi, everyone else on board you will be forever missed. 🙏🏽🙏🏽
David Robinson: I’m still numb from the loss of one of our NBA family in Kobe Bryant. He was everything we loved as an athlete with impeccable work ethic, fiery competitiveness, a flair for the dramatic, and an amazing balance of family and business. Please pray for all the families.#RIPKobe
Lamb was among the players visibly shaken by the news because he became a father to a baby girl just months ago. When Lamb read where both Bryant and one of his daughters had tragically passed away, he immediately thought of his own. “It hit me harder just seeing how much she loved him and how much their relationship had grown since he retired and he was spending a lot of time with her and putting his all into being a father,” he said. “Just like he did the game. He put his all into the game and his craft. You see a whole bunch of videos on Instagram of how he’s helping players now. He put his all into everything.
Me, I'll remember his humanity. (And I know, that part of Kobe's story is as complicated as the rest of him.) NBA stars live their lives in a swirling fishbowl, their every triumph and misstep filmed, framed and cataloged. For a Lakers star, that goes 100-fold. Fame warps everything. I saw Kobe struggle with it all at times. Saw him alienate teammates, push away relatives, turn surly and insulated. That was the Kobe Bryant who emerged in the mid-2000s—jaws clenched, chin out, domineering, merciless, the Mamba.
Mike Fratello: As shock turns to deep sadness the world mourns the sudden loss of an NBA legend and celebrates Kobe’s incredible legacy. Grateful to have known him. My sincere condolences to all the families who lost loved ones in Sunday’s tragic accident.
Kobe Bryant often took a helicopter to practices and games both to minimize traffic time and maximize his energy. But with the Los Angeles Lakers legend and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, among the nine people that were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning, should that have been the correct mode of transportation?
L.A. weather was extremely foggy Sunday morning, and law enforcement sources tell us even LAPD air support was grounded because of it. Flight tracker data shows Kobe's chopper appeared to first encounter weather issues as it was above the L.A. Zoo. It circled that area at least 6 times at a very low altitude -- around 875 feet -- perhaps waiting for the fog to clear.
Eyal Smener was on the phone in his living room when he heard a loud whirring sound. He thought it might be a helicopter flying much lower than usual up in the hills behind his home in Calabasas, but he did not hang up the phone to investigate. The noise he heard next is one he will not soon forget. “It was this weird, loud grinding sound,” he said. “And then nothing. Just nothing.” He didn’t think much about it until his wife told him an hour later there had been a terrible helicopter crash involving Kobe Bryant. Then he knew he had heard the final seconds of Bryant and the other souls lost aboard a helicopter that Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters had claimed the lives of nine people on Sunday morning.
Storyline: Kobe Bryant Death
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August 8, 2022 | 8:04 pm EDT Update
The NBA informed teams Monday that players still need to have either received a primary course of a COVID-19 vaccine or been given a medical clearance from getting one in order to play games in Canada, according to a league memo obtained by ESPN. The memo also states that, should players be ineligible to play in games in Canada, teams must list them as, “Out – Health and Safety Protocols,” and that they will lose their pay for any games missed due to not being vaccinated.
This season, the Raptors will play at least 44 games in Canada: preseason games in Edmonton against the Utah Jazz; Montreal against the Boston Celtics; and Toronto against the Chicago Bulls; plus their typical 41 regular-season home games at Scotiabank Arena and any additional playoff games. The same rules apply both to going to Canada to play in a game, as well as for entering the United States. Anyone playing for the Raptors, therefore, would have to be vaccinated in order to play in any game this season. Last season, the Raptors were fully vaccinated.
A few of Fox’s peers also attended the wedding including Sacramento Kings general manager Monte McNair and Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum. Former Kentucky Wildcats Bam Adebayo and Wenyen Gabriel, who was also Fox’s teammate in Sacramento, attended the wedding. Adebayo and Gabriel were two of the groomsmen at the ceremony.

August 8, 2022 | 6:38 pm EDT Update