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.
Storyline: Kobe Bryant Death
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.”
Sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne that the Lakers intend to waive DeMarcus Cousins to clear a roster spot for Markieff Morris if he clears waivers on Sunday. The power forward negotiated a buyout with the Detroit Pistons on Friday, leaving $4.3 million in remaining salary for this season and next season on the table, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks.