Phil Jackson calls Kobe Bryant ‘a chosen one’ in statement on his death
Kobe Bryant’s former coach offered a touching tribute to the Mamba after his sudden passing on Sunday.
Phil Jackson, who coached Bryant during all five of his championships with the Los Angeles Lakers, reacted to the news in an official statement.
“The crash was a tragedy for multiple families,” Jackson wrote. “My heart goes out to Vanessa and the families that lost loved ones. Kobe was a chosen one — special in many ways to many people. Our relationship as coach/player transcended the norm. He went beyond the veil.”
Jackson was Bryant’s head coach on the Lakers for 11 seasons from 1999 to 2004 and again from 2005 until Jackson’s retirement in 2011. While their relationship was tumultuous at times (as detailed in Jackson’s 2004 book “The Last Season” where he described Bryant as “uncoachable), the two remained close even after Bryant’s retirement as a player in 2016.
The 74-year-old Jackson will always be the coach most associated with Bryant, and he has to be as shocked as everybody else is by the tragedy.
More Larry Brown Sports coverage of Kobe Bryant’s death:
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
Tributes to 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
– 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
– Media errors, rumors, poor judgment run rampant in reporting of Kobe Bryant news
– 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