The families of four of the victims who perished in the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, have filed wrongful death lawsuits themselves — this after Vanessa Bryant has already gone after the chopper company in court. The surviving members of the Altobelli family and Mauser family — the remaining two Altobelli children and Christina Mauser’s husband, her son and 2 daughters, respectively — claim the Island Express’s negligence was reason for the death of their loved ones.
Gasol paused and collected his thoughts, then recalled the moment the Lakers were on the podium inside Staples Center receiving the championship trophy. He talked about how Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, were there on the stage celebrating the title, how Lakers owner Jerry Buss, NBA Commissioner David Stern, Lakers assistant coach Frank Hamblen and ESPN’s Stuart Scott were also there on that magical night. Gasol sighed, then slowly remarked that they had all died. “All those people … now 10 years later they are not here with us,” Gasol said during an interview with The Times. “Obviously Kobe and Gigi, which breaks my heart every time I think about it, and seeing Vanessa and the kids. It was a lot. That’s why I got emotional and I think about it. I still do.”
Former Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom opened up about a number of topics during an appearance on REVOLT TV's Drink Champs: Happy Hour airing Thursday. One of those was Kobe Bryant's death, along with eight others, in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26. "That s--t was so shocking," he said. "That s--t took the breath out of me, man. That s--t f--ked me up for real."
Kobe Bryant's daughters have just been appointed new guardians to represent their interests in their father's trust ... TMZ Sports has learned. According to new legal docs ... Erika Williams has been appointed guardian ad litem for Natalia and Bianka Bryant, and James Summers is repping for Kobe's youngest daughter, Capri.
Kobe Bryant's daughters have just been appointed new guardians to represent their interests in their father's trust ... TMZ Sports has learned. According to new legal docs ... Erika Williams has been appointed guardian ad litem for Natalia and Bianka Bryant, and James Summers is repping for Kobe's youngest daughter, Capri.
Zach Lowe wondered how World Peace coped with Bryant's death. He recalled being on a plane to Europe with his wife on Feb. 26. The in-flight movie ended with someone's death. Suddenly, he was overcome with tears. "I couldn't control my crying because I've been suppressing it," World Peace said. "It comes in waves. On the plane, I'm like, 'What am I crying for?' It's something you don't cope with. I'm not trying to make it better. I don't want it to get better. Time heals all wounds."
The family of Kobe Bryant visited a mural honoring the late NBA icon and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. The mural in Los Angeles depicts Bryant kissing Gianna on the head, with a halo hovering over them. Bryant and Gianna were among the nine people killed in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. On Sunday, Bryant’s eldest daughter, 17-year-old Natalia, posed for a photo in front of the mural.
In the days following Kobe Bryant’s tragic death in a helicopter crash, fans all over the world mourned the NBA all-star’s death. And some were also motivated to protect their own families if something terrible happened to them. The volume of life insurance application requests and submissions spiked in the days after the 41-year-old’s death on Jan. 26, 2020, according to True Blue Life Insurance, an online aggregator and comparison site for life insurance.
Bryant’s death shook Tatum. When the news broke, he was spending time with his dad, Justin Tatum, in New Orleans before the Celtics’ team bus was scheduled to leave for the arena. “We were in our jolly moment, sitting there munching on our Popeyes sandwiches, talking about things back home,” Tatum’s father recalled. Then Jayson checked his phone notifications and his jaw dropped. No words were spoken for the rest of their meal or walk home to the hotel. “I kind of got sick to my stomach. I couldn’t believe it,” Tatum said. “It didn’t seem real at the time. It still doesn’t seem real.”
Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker has paid tribute to his idol, Kobe Bryant, with a tattoo. The tattoo which Booker showed on his Instagram Tuesday, simply says "Be Legendary" in cursive writing on one of his forearms. But it has a story behind it. Bryant wrote those words on a shoe of his that he gave to Booker after playing in a game against the Suns in 2016, Bryant's final year in the NBA. Booker had Bryant's writing on the shoe used for his tattoo.
The written complaint came in three days after the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others: At the Baja California Bar and Grill in Norwalk, a young Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy was showing gruesome photos taken at the scene of the tragedy. “He was working the day the helicopter went down and took pictures of the crash site and bodies,” the author wrote.
After The Times disclosed last week that the deputies shared the photos, Villanueva said he would launch an investigation. But now there are mounting demands for an independent inquiry into the matter, the latest in a series of scandals to afflict the nation’s largest sheriff’s department in recent years. Patti Giggans, chair of the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission, said she expects Villanueva to find out what happened in a timely way, but that the destruction of photos “looks like a cover-up of misconduct.” She added, “I’m hoping that that’s not the case.”
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said eight deputies allegedly took or shared graphic photos of the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash scene, but he ordered them deleted. "That was my No. 1 priority, was to make sure those photos no longer exist," Villanueva told NBC News for a story Monday. "We identified the deputies involved, they came to the station on their own and had admitted they had taken them and they had deleted them. And we're content that those involved did that.''
The widow of basketball star Kobe Bryant is "absolutely devastated" by allegations that deputies shared graphic photos of the helicopter crash scene where Bryant, their 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed, her lawyer said in a statement Saturday. The Los Angeles Times reported on Thursday that a public safety source with knowledge of the events had seen one of the photos on the phone of another official in a setting that was not related to the investigation of the crash. He said the photos showed the scene and victims' remains. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the allegations.
Vanessa Bryant's lawyer, Gary Robb, said that she went to the sheriff's office on Jan. 26, the day of the crash, "and requested that the area be designated a no-fly zone and protected from photographers." "This was of critical importance to her as she desired to protect the dignity of all the victims, and their families. At that time, Sheriff Alex Villanueva assured us all measures would be put in place to protect the families' privacy, and it is our understanding that he has worked hard to honor those requests," Robb said.
Some L.A. County Sheriff's Deputies shared photos of the scene where Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gigi, and 7 others lost their lives ... and the photos included remains from the gruesome aftermath ... TMZ has confirmed. It's not clear who took the photos, but it was being talked about by first responders just 2 days after the crash, this according to the L.A. Times.
Law enforcement sources tell TMZ, multiple L.A. County Sheriff's deputies who responded to the crash scene took photos that included remains. We're told one of the deputies -- a trainee -- took photos and at some point went to a bar and, as one source put it, "He tried to impress a girl by showing her the photos." We're told the bartender overheard the conversation and filed an online complaint with the Sheriff's Dept. We're also told the cell phone photos were passed around at the Lost Hills Sheriff's substation -- the first responders to the crash. Sources say deputies from other substations around L.A. County also took cell phone photos.
Back in Los Angeles for the first time since the tragedy, Barton reflected Friday on the moment he found out his favorite player had died and how he’s dealt with the news over the past month. “It’s hard to process,” Barton said at Friday’s shootaround at Staples Center, hours before the Nuggets faced the Clippers. “It’s still a little fresh. Anytime you lose somebody like that, so sudden, you just try to remember him. I try to watch highlights of him and play hard in his honor every night.”
As a kid, Barton collected the SLAM magazine covers featuring Bryant’s mug. To face off against him before he retired in 2016 meant everything to Barton. “Every time he guarded me, it was always something I looked forward to and was special,” Barton said.
The rush to monetize the death of Kobe Bryant started in the hours after the helicopter carrying the retired Lakers star, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others slammed into a hillside in Calabasas on a foggy morning last month. As first responders picked through the wreckage, anonymous speculators registered scores of web domains connected to the tragedy. The address lovekobebryant.com, created about three hours after the crash, went on sale for a buy-now price of $99,999. Among the scores of the site registrations that followed within an hour or two were kobebryanthelicopter.com ($50,000), kobebryanthalloffame.com ($20,000) and kobedead.com ($5,000).
In the month since Bryant’s death, the demand for items connected to him hasn’t abated. Beyond the web domains and trademark registrations, T-shirts and jerseys are for sale. They’re joined by newspapers, posters, books, paintings, magazines, trading cards, hats, autographed basketballs, hoodies, jars of Nutella with Bryant’s picture and limited-edition Beanie Babies from 1999 with his original No. 8 embroidered on the back.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies shared graphic photos of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight others, according to two public safety sources with knowledge of the events. After multiple inquiries by The Times, the Sheriff’s Department said Thursday that the “matter is being looked into.”
One of the sources told The Times that the sharing of photos of the crash scene and the victims’ remains was the topic of a discussion among first responders two days after the crash. The source said he saw one of the photos on the phone of another official, in a setting that had nothing to do with the investigation of the crash. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the matter.
Sometimes, his players Google things. When Kobe Bryant died, “a sad moment," Wallace said. “Some of the guys were on their little TVs -- call them phones -- and they saw the [Nike] commercial I did some years back. ‘Oh, Coach, I didn’t know you were in a commercial with Kobe.’ “ “I knew he was an NBA champion," said Joaquin Davis, a senior forward who has signed a letter of intent to play Division I football at North Carolina Central. “Already knew that off the rip. He was a legend at UNC, so I already knew that. I also knew that he got known for a lot of techs ...”
Sharapova said she knew it was time to retire as she flew home to Los Angeles from Australia. Kobe Bryant’s death in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 made it even clearer. “We were supposed to see each other like three days after the crash,” said Sharapova, who explained that Bryant had been an “incredible sounding board” throughout her career.
This time, she said, she had reached out for help in coping with her physical deterioration. “I think we all seem at times in our journey like larger than life because of what we do, but everyone at the core is incredibly fragile,” she said of Bryant. “And if anything it just opens up your eyes to what really matters in life, so that was a moment where I had a really good think about my future as well.”
Tom Orsborn: Pop on the eulogies and performances at Kobe Bryant's public memorial: "It was an amazing display of courage, especially by his wife, and there were a lot of incisive, touching, emotional moments in the ceremony. But I choose not to get into that." #Spurs
But, we noticed multiple listings had disappeared from eBay over the past 24 hours -- so we reached out to eBay to find out what's up. Turns out, eBay has a policy that prohibits sellers from profiting off of "human tragedy or suffering." In fact, eBay sent an email to one seller explaining their position -- "Please note, due to sudden and tragic passing of Kobe Bryant - eBay has made the decision to prohibit the sale of merchandise, images and mugs relating to their passing." "We do not allow listings that attempt to profit from human tragedy or suffering."
Sources familiar with Island Express tell TMZ, the company had liability insurance coverage totaling $50 million. Our sources say that's not an unusual figure, but given the number of people Island Express transports on a single helicopter and the fact rich celebrities used the service ... the number is low. Our sources say a more appropriate amount of coverage for the company would have been closer to $100 million. As we reported, Kylie Jenner -- a 22-year-old billionaire -- also recently took the same Island Express helicopter that crashed.
Monday they were mourning. Tuesday they were trying to cash in. Several people who attended the Kobe Bryant memorial at Staples Center are selling souvenir items from the event ... from ticket stubs to program booklets ... and the asking price is in the THOUSANDS of dollars. We've already found a handful of listings on eBay from people selling their memorial pins, shirts and other items. Most of the listers claim they personally attended the event.
Bryant was not an active player like Munson when he died, but he remained as synonymous with the Lakers as anyone who had ever worn the purple and gold. I asked Jackson, still a special adviser to the Yankees, for any counsel he would offer if a current Laker were to ask him. “You can’t,” Jackson said. “There’s no giving advice on this. It’s too emotional, too personal. It’s with you every day in L.A.” Jackson would say only that it’s “very important” for a team soaked in sorrow “to have a leader there.” For his Yankees, it was Murcer. For the Lakers, the pillars have been Coach Frank Vogel, General Manager Rob Pelinka (Bryant’s former agent and Gianna Bryant’s godfather) and LeBron.
Bill Oram: LeBron said yesterday he was “emotionally a wreck like everyone else. It was a challenging day for all of us.” But he declined to say whether he attended the memorial. His biggest takeaway was “how strong and how bold Vanessa is to stand up there the way she did.”
Every detail for the event itself had been approved by Vanessa and the Bryant family, a source says. Just after 11 a.m. PT, Vanessa is introduced, and the crowd erupts, immediately rising to its feet. She has been widowed for 30 days, and she walks with a resolved stride toward the lectern.
A source close to the family says the most important thing to them was that the day focused not only on Kobe, but on Gianna -- that she didn't get lost in the mix. Vanessa opened by speaking about her daughter, and the next three speakers -- Taurasi, Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu, UConn women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma -- were all from the sport Gianna loved and pursued.
Minutes after the ceremony ends, Shaquille O'Neal -- who won three titles with Bryant, who warred with Bryant but then grew closer to him as they both aged -- bounds out of his chair. As attendees make their way toward the exits, O'Neal approaches Bryant's father, Joe "Jellybean" Bryant, who rises from his chair. The two embrace in a long hug.
Steve Nash: Thank you, Kobe! We came in the league together and went out around the same time. Glad we got to be teammates but really cherish the competition. A TON of battles but game 6, 2010 Western Conference Finals you were truly unplayable. It wasn’t always easy and we didn’t always see eye to eye but the respect between us means more than all the numbers and accolades stacked on top of each other. Looking back I draw a lot of inspiration from the way you attacked everything you did and even more admiration from the father you were and family you grew. Gone way way way too soon but never ever forgotten. Rest In Peace old friend with your Angel, Gigi. 2/24♾
Farbod Esnaashari: Michael Jordan's final words in eulogizing Kobe Bryant: "I had a little brother that I tried to help in every way I could. Please, Rest In Peace, little brother."
Farbod Esnaashari: Michael Jordan: "What Kobe Bryant was to me, was the inspiration that someone truly cared about the way I played the game. He wanted to be the best basketball player he could be. As I got to know him, I wanted to be the best big brother I could be."
Mark Medina: Surreal. Rob Pelinka got a text from Kobe Bryant on the morning of Jan. 26 asking for any names of any baseball agents. Pelinka responded and Kobe explained he wanted to help a friend get an internship. Kobe sent that text on the helicopter
Mark Medina: Vanessa Bryant: “Gigi would’ve been the best player in the WNBA. She would’ve made a huge difference in women’s basketball.”
Kyle Goon: Diana Taurasi, the White Mamba, with a sizzling moment of levity while talking about Gigi: I mean who has a turnaround fade-away jumper at 11? LeBron just barely got one today. (Referencing LeBron’s shoot against Boston yesterday.)
Jeff Eisenband: Michael Jordan was the first person waiting for Vanessa Bryant as she came off the stage. pic.twitter.com/y0Kj08kFCs
Mark Medina: Others in building: Jeanie Buss, Phil Jackson, Shaq, Jerry West, Alex Rodriguez, Jennifer Lopez, Rick Fox, Dwyane Wade, Russell Westbrook, Paul Pierce
Tim MacMahon: James Harden, Russell Westbrook and P.J. Tucker are attending the memorial service for Kobe and Gianna Bryant in Los Angeles. They plan to fly to Houston on a private jet after the service and play against the Knicks tonight.
Duane Rankin: Devin Booker among the many former, current #NBA players in attendance. #Suns pic.twitter.com/58MBGgYl5o
As mourners gathered at Staples Center on Monday for a memorial service to celebrate the lives of Kobe and Gianna Bryant, attorneys for Vanessa Bryant filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company that operated the helicopter that crashed last month and claimed the lives of her husband, daughter and seven other people.
The complaint in Los Angeles County Superior Court against Island Express Helicopters and Island Express Holding Corp. alleged that pilot Ara Zobayan, who also died in the crash in Calabasas, failed “to use ordinary care in piloting the subject aircraft” and was “negligent.” “Defendant Island Express Helicopters’ breach of its duty and negligence caused the injuries and damages complained of herein and Plaintiffs’ deceased, Kobe Bryant, was killed as a direct result of the negligent conduct of Zobayan for which Defendant Island Express Helicopters is vicariously liable in all respects,” the lawsuit said.
The lawsuit accuses Zobayan, Bryant’s longtime pilot, of several acts of negligence including failing to abort the flight, failing to monitor and assess the weather, and failure to keep a safe distance between natural obstacles and the helicopter. “On information and belief, Defendant Island Express Helicopters employed Defendant Zobayan with conscious disregard of the rights or safety of others and authorized or ratified his wrong conduct, and itself engaged in conduct with malice, oppression, or fraud,” the complaint said.
Since his death at age 41, the nation has mourned the loss of the NBA Hall of Famer, who was an 18-time All-Star and 15-time member of the All-NBA Team. Bryant, Collins said, was one of his favorite professional basketball players. “I loved what he brought to the game,” he said. Collins, who has built customized designer caskets for roughly a decade over his 47 years, said social media led to what he called this humbling assignment. Through social networking, he said, a friend of Bryant’s family reached out to ask if Collins could create some type of memorial art to honor Kobe and the other victims.
“This is nothing people have ever seen. This is something I created,” Collins said from his work site off Collins Place on the edge of Elizabethtown. “And the whole vision behind it – I cannot take the pain away. I try to capture moments to bring back life, energy and the inspiration of the loved ones and their legacy.” The casket, which he said cost $13,000, was built over 3½ days. Donations helped cover the cost, and the names of those donors have been added to a picture of Bryant's jersey that is meant to be part of the tribute memorial set.
Pelinka did not seem surprised with how Bryant transitioned from his NBA career. “I knew that Kobe’s life after basketball would be driven by one word – curiosity,” Pelinka wrote in an e-mail to USA TODAY Sports as part of an interview last month about Bryant's post-NBA career. “Like most utter geniuses, Kobe has an insatiable desire to learn, grow and conquer. I knew that in whatever endeavor that manifested itself, Kobe would find incredible achievement.”
Pelinka has declined interviews. James has declined to talk in-depth about Bryant out of respect for his family. And Davis declined to answer how Pelinka has helped the team handle a difficult month. Accounts suggest, though, that Pelinka has become a source of comfort within the organization. “His way of helping is coming in and being positive every single day,” forward Avery Bradley told USA TODAY Sports. "With him being positive, it makes us a little happier. It helps us be comfortable about everything going on when we’re seeing a smile on Rob’s face.”
On Monday morning, about 20,000 people — celebrities, athletes, family members, fans and friends — will fill Staples Center to honor Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, who were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 near Calabasas, Calif. The public memorial, called “A Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant,” is expected to run from about 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Pacific time, Zeidman said, followed by several invitation-only receptions. An undisclosed number of tickets were sold to the general public through a lottery. Those who were unable to purchase tickets will not be permitted access to L.A. Live, the entertainment complex adjacent to Staples Center. Officials are discouraging people from trying to congregate near the arena.
Los Angeles will come to a stop Monday to publicly memorialize Kobe and Gianna Bryant at the Staples Center. When Vanessa Bryant announced the pubic service on Instagram earlier this month, she pointed out the symbolism in the date: 2/24/20. Two for the number Gianna, aka “Mambacita,” wore. Twenty-four for the number Kobe wore during the second half of his career. And twenty, for the years Kobe and Vanessa spent together. Kobe and Gianna were buried in a private ceremony on Feb. 7, according to records.
It will be difficult to sum up the former Lakers star's impact as the team prepares a memorial for Bryant and his daughter Gianna on Monday at Staples Center. "It's hard in a two-minute, five-minute time to say everything he meant to the world, to the NBA and to basketball fans. He's bigger than life," Johnson said before the Lakers’ 114-112 win over the Boston Celtics on Sunday at Staples Center. "And it will take years to get over his passing and his daughter and the seven other people who lost their lives as well."
Arn Tellem: In high school, Kobe trained with the Philadelphia 76ers. By his senior campaign, the big question was, would Kobe attend a college like La Salle, where Joe was an assistant coach, or turn pro. During the previous three decades, only six U.S. players had joined the NBA without playing college ball, and all of them had been big men: Moses Malone, Darryl Dawkins, Bill Willoughby, Shawn Kemp, Thomas Hamilton and Kevin Garnett. Kobe was a 6-foot-6 guard. I asked Kobe what he wanted to do. He didn’t hesitate. “I’m going to the NBA,” he said. “I want to be the next Michael Jordan.”
I remember Kobe telling me that a defining moment in his brilliant 20-year NBA career was the infamous air ball game against Utah in the 1997 Western Conference semifinals. With the Lakers’ season on the line, he took four shots — one in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, three in the final minute of overtime — none of which came close to going in the basket. The Lakers lost in five games, and Kobe was left with a humbling rookie moment. “It was an early turning point for me in being able to deal with adversity, deal with public scrutiny and self-doubt,” he said.
Designer Philipp Plein is facing backlash over his Milan Fashion Week show, after a tribute to Kobe Bryant rubbed some the wrong way. Plein's show Saturday night in Italy concluded with a nod to the late Los Angeles Lakers star, featuring models (including former Miss Universe Olivia Culpo and "Red Table Talk" host Jada Pinkett Smith) wearing bedazzled purple 24 jerseys. The background featured a number of gold-coated vehicles, including two helicopters.
Following the show, Plein's website now features a limited edition "Plein 24" collection, which features a $2,070 bedazzled purple jersey with the number 24 and Plein's name in place of the Lakers and NBA logos. A purple and yellow sweatshirt version of the jersey is also sold for $3,150. "Philipp Plein is proud to support MAMBA & MAMBACITA FOUNDATION. A tribute to a legend," the site reads. It is not immediately clear if or how much of the proceeds go toward the foundation. USA TODAY has reached out to representatives for Plein and the foundation for more information.
Ramona Shelburne: Over 80 murals have been painted of Kobe around LA since his death. “I see him as a soldier of life: somebody that brought passion, to never give up, to inspire everyone, somebody that will do anything to make you a better person." —@MrBrainwash espn.com/nba/story/_/id…
Thousands of Kobe and Gianna Bryant mourners are just hours away from packing Staples Center for a ceremony celebrating the Mamba and Mambacita's lives ... and TMZ Sports will livestream all of it. The event is expected to be incredibly moving and emotional. As we reported, the demand to attend the memorial was unprecedented. THOUSANDS of people applied for tickets -- more than 88,000 just in the first 5 hours.
We're told officials wrestled with the idea of moving the event to the L.A. Coliseum -- which seats closer to 80,000 people -- before ultimately settling on Staples. After all, it's where Kobe played for 20 years and became a beloved figure in Los Angeles and around the world.
Logan Murdock: Steve Kerr says Draymond Green, Stephen Curry and GM Bob Myers will represent the Warriors at Kobe Bryant’s memorial on Monday in Los Angeles.
“We know it’s going to be hard to be in there and hearing all that stuff again, but it’s going to feel good as well,” Lakers coach Frank Vogel said of the memorial. “We’re going to honor Kobe and Gigi’s life the right way and it’s something that we’re all looking forward to, but understanding that it’s going to be hard.”
More from Johnson: “Kobe was living his best life after basketball. His relationship with his kids, with his wife, the the work in the community. He was about women’s athletics, the WNBA. He worked out with everybody. The list of players that this man worked out with, Kawhi, Kyrie Irving, Tatum of the Celtics, on and on and on. I mean, he would give his time and his knowledge of the game to all these young players. And I just loved his relationship with his girls and his wife. I mean, they were coming to the LA Sparks games. And last, but not least, he loved the Laker organization, he loved Jeanie, he loved Dr. Buss. It’s going to be hard for the city to move on.”
The loyal high school teammate often spent a significant part of his work day handling interview inquiries about Kobe Bryant. Lately, Doug Young has helped alumni, colleagues and visitors grieve Bryant’s death. “I’m sad, but strong,” Young told USA TODAY Sports. “There’s undeniable sadness. But I think the strength is from thinking what Kobe might have wanted.” For most of Bryant’s 20-year NBA career, Young served as the communications director for their alma mater, Lower Merion High School near Philadelphia. Two years ago, Young left the post to work with professional athletes on various storytelling platforms. But after Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others died in a helicopter crash a month ago, Young assumed a familiar role with Lower Merion.
According to Young, Bryant talked trash about the school’s rivals with current coaches and players. Bryant often bantered that his 1996 state title team would beat Lower Merion’s 2013 title team. Bryant gave players feedback about their performances. A few years ago, Bryant consoled one player over his father’s recent death. “We always felt like he put us first,” Young said. “I know how special those moments were for our players, for me and for Coach Downer. They were rare. He was a major public figure and knew you wouldn’t get a ton of quality time. That’s just the nature of being the greatest basketball player in the world. You’re being pulled in a thousand directions. But when he was with us, he was 110 percent with us.”
“You sit there thinking, ‘I can’t believe this is happening,’ ” Young said. “But you also want to be respectful they upended their lives to show up at your doorstep.” Downer conducted a few practices with the Chinese basketball team, and the team’s translator eventually met Bryant during one of his trips to China. The French students were too old to enroll at Lower Merion, but Downer trained them for a session. Lower Merion declined to sell any Bryant gear to the Ireland student, but it gave him a used jersey and invited him to its summer camp. “We were never in the business of profiting off of Kobe Bryant,” Young said. “He was our brother, our teammate and friend. That didn’t change.”
July 4, 2022 | 9:15 am EDT Update
Free agents left on the Wolves radar: Frank Kaminsky, Gorgui Dieng… and maybe Boogie Cousins? I’m waiting to hear a little bit more information on that. Also, I was told they may wait out the KD and Kyrie situations that when those two players are traded, likely separate trades, that other players could hit the market. Maybe somebody ends up in Brooklyn, Brooklyn buys out that player. So the Wolves may wait out those situations before adding another free agent.
Adrian Wojnarowski on Kevin Durant’s potential trade: “The market is still taking shape, and I think it’s incumbent on some of the other teams to be creative and start bringing to Brooklyn ideas, going out and seeing if they can get players, picks that would put the kind of package it would take to get Kevin Durant. Brooklyn’s got time on its side. They have a lot of time left in the offseason and they have a player in KD who has four years left on his contract. They don’t have to rush into a deal.”
The Wolves spoke with the Spurs a number of times about DeJounte Murray, he has a number of fans here. The Wolves were very, very interested in bringing Dejounte Murray to Minnesota, just not at the price that Atlanta paid.
July 4, 2022 | 5:27 am EDT Update
“The Lakers have yet, I’m told, to be aggressive in trying to put a deal together to get [Kyrie] from Brooklyn. That may come, that may evolve with time. But so far right now, there’s no traction really on deals with either Irving or Durant.” 🗣️ @wojespn
John Clark: I’m told despite reports, the Sixers are not pursuing Kyrie Irving I’m told there were discussions internally about Kyrie and other players, but the Sixers never entered into actual talks with Brooklyn As far as Kevin Durant, remember he has a big say in where he will wind up
Those who know Durant cite two primary factors: a rocky Nets season that ended in a first-round playoff sweep; and the franchise’s soured relationship with Irving, his close friend. Durant doesn’t see much hope for a revival under the circumstances, those sources say. And he’s unhappy that his friend is unhappy.
As one insider sympathetic to Durant noted, “Kyrie sabotaged everything,” but Durant is reacting more to the effects than the cause, and he now views the Nets as unsalvageable. “There’s no use in (him) taking sides when it’s all too far gone,” the person said. In essence, the Nets were right in principle, but wrong in practical terms, failing to understand that making Irving upset “was going to drive Kevin away.” It’s instructive to note that for all the chaos, all the havoc and all the stress, Durant still wants to play with Irving, according to league insiders.