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Friday, June 5, 2020

Jerry West says Kobe Bryant’s parents, sisters are ‘traumatized and devastated’

Jerry West

Jerry West was extremely close with Kobe Bryant from the time Bryant entered the NBA, and the the former Los Angeles Lakers coach and executive has maintained a personal relationship with Kobe’s family over the years. As expected, West says Kobe’s parents and siblings are not doing well in the wake of the helicopter crash that killed Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.

West told Billy Bush of “Extra” this week that he feels like he lost a son. The 81-year-old said his son Ryan has been in contact with one of Kobe’s sisters since Sunday’s tragedy, and the Bryant family is “just traumatized and devastated.”

“I think when you have someone who, and every family, everyone’s different, you know, some people have great success and it’s publicized,” West said. “Some people have great success and no one knows who they are. And here was someone that if you’re a sports fan, if you haven’t watched basketball, you knew who Kobe Bryant was. That was how special he was.”

Kobe’s parents, Pamela and Joe, and two sisters, Shaya and Sharia, all live in Las Vegas. Bryant and his parents had a complicated relationship throughout the years, but indications were that they had become closer again in recent years. Joe Bryant’s best friend, Wayne Slappy, told the Daily Mail this week that the Bryants are left trying to fill a “black hole.”

“His family are going to miss him more than you can begin to imagine. I know NBA players whose kids can’t stand them, they never spent any time with them,” Slappy said. “That ain’t Kobe … I just remember being with him up at his camp (recently) in Santa Barbara and seeing him hug his dad. You know how they loved each other from how they looked at each other, how they smiled.”

In the summer of 1996, West traded for Bryant during the NBA Draft and signed Shaquille O’Neal as a free agent. West later hired Phil Jackson as head coach, and the Lakers won three consecutive titles with the core West assembled. West recently shared a story about Kobe’s career that left many surprised, and it is clear that the two had a father-son relationship.

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Other victims of the helicopter crash:
John Altobelli, junior college baseball coach, also died in helicopter crash
Christina Mauser, girls’ basketball coach, among the helicopter crash victims
Sarah Chester, daughter Payton were also killed in Kobe Bryant helicopter crash
Ara Zobayan was the pilot in Kobe Bryant helicopter crash

Tributes to Kobe:
Vanessa Bryant posts first Instagram message since death of Kobe, Gianna
NBA players changing jersey numbers in honor of Kobe Bryant
Bill Belichick shares touching anecdote in tribute to Kobe Bryant
UConn honors Gianna Bryant with own jersey, spot on the bench
Video: Shaq gets emotional talking about Kobe Bryant on TNT
LeBron James had inspirational message for Lakers during meeting about Kobe
Dallas Mavericks retire Kobe Bryant’s No. 24 jersey
Video: Raptors, Spurs start game with amazing tribute to Kobe Bryant
Shaq posts heartfelt tribute to Kobe Bryant
Michael Jordan releases statement on death of ‘little brother’ Kobe Bryant
Video: Doc Rivers breaks down crying talking about Kobe Bryant
Phil Jackson calls Kobe Bryant ‘a chosen one’ in statement on his death
NBA commissioner Adam Silver issues statement on death of Kobe Bryant
Video: Dwyane Wade posts emotional message reacting to Kobe Bryant’s death
Kendrick Perkins extends olive branch to Kevin Durant after Kobe Bryant’s death
Gilbert Arenas vows to begin coaching career like Kobe Bryant urged him to
Video: Emotional Mike Breen sums up NBA world’s emotions about Kobe Bryant’s death
Trae Young’s huge game was full of Kobe Bryant-related statistical coincidences

More coverage:
Video: Kobe Bryant helicopter audio released
Investigators release chilling drone footage from Kobe Bryant helicopter crash site
Media errors, rumors, poor judgment run rampant in reporting of Kobe Bryant news
TMZ says they had permission from Kobe’s people to report Bryant had died
NBA postpones Tuesday’s Lakers-Clippers game after Kobe Bryant’s death
Shaq says he had not spoken to Kobe Bryant in nearly four years
Kobe Bryant recently filed for ‘Mambacita’ trademark for daughter Gianna
Kobe Bryant checked in on Shaq’s son Shareef morning of helicopter crash
No, Rick Fox did not die in helicopter crash that killed Kobe, Gianna Bryant
Lakers fans start memorial to Kobe Bryant outside Staples Center
Kobe Bryant’s last tweet was congratulating LeBron James on passing him
Sports world stunned over Kobe Bryant news
Kobe Bryant dies in helicopter crash – dead at 41

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