Tomorrow marks one year since the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his 14-year-old daughter, Gianna. LeBron James recently opened up about how he is still struggling with the passing of his friend and idol.
According to ESPN, James said to reporters after a win over the Chicago Bulls on Jan. 23, “Man, it’s a saying that time heals all. And as devastating and as tragic as it was and still is to all of us involved with it, only time and it takes time. Everyone has their own grieving process.”
James explained how he avoided thinking about or discussing how Bryant passed away, especially while so many fans and other players revisit Bryant’s untimely passing. “I try not to put myself back in that headspace because it’s just too dark for not only myself but for our organization and for everyone that’s involved in it.”
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Additionally, he reflected on Bryant’s notable impact on his career, telling ESPN, “I only looked at Kobe for him. And obviously you’ve seen a lot of the similarities between him and Mike [Michael Jordan], but I appreciated Kobe’s game for Kobe’s game. The way he played the game, the finesse that he played with, the ball-handling capabilities, the shooting, everything that he possessed on the floor — I respected him for who he was as a player and what he was able to bring onto the floor.”
James also added, “There’s a lot of things that die in this world, but legends never die, and he’s exactly that. So, it’s all about representing that.”
Lakers co-captain Anthony Davis also chimed in about Bryant’s influence that went beyond just sports.
“I didn’t know he impacted so many people’s lives outside of basketball. From soccer, to football, to players overseas, to people who don’t even play sports, they’re always talking about the ‘Mamba Mentality,’” Davis told ESPN.
“I didn’t know how impactful he was worldwide. … I just didn’t realize how many people he impacted worldwide that’s outside the basketball community.”
On January 26, Kobe and Gianna were headed to a basketball tournament at Mamba Academy in California when the father and daughter, along with seven other passengers including Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, Alyssa Altobelli Keri Altobelli, John Altobelli, Christina Mauser, and the helicopter’s pilot, Ara Zobayan, died in a fatal crash.