Skip to main content
Larry Brown Sports Tagline. Brown Bag it, Baby.
#pounditThursday, January 27, 2022

Articles tagged: Kobe Bryant

Look: Jack Flaherty wears special Kobe Bryant cleats at Dodger Stadium

Jack Flaherty Kobe Bryant cleats

Jack Flaherty paid tribute to Kobe Bryant with the cleats he wore on Monday.

Flaherty, who is from Los Angeles and grew up in the city, pitched for the St. Louis Cardinals in their game against the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium. Flaherty wore purple and gold cleats — the Lakers’ colors. His right cleat even had the message: “RIP Kobe” on it.

Flaherty left his start after five innings due to tightness in his side. He allowed a pair of solo home runs and took a no decision.

On the season, the 25-year-old LA native is 8-1 with a 2.90 ERA.

Kobe Bryant wanted his parents to attend Hall of Fame ceremony

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant and his parents Joe and Pam had a rocky relationship for years leading up to the former NBA star’s death, but it sounds like Bryant expressed a desire to put that to rest not long before he died.

Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, delivered a speech on Kobe’s behalf when Kobe was inducted into the Hall of Fame on Saturday night. During the speech, Vanessa said Kobe told her a week before he died that he wanted his mother and father to attend the enshrinement. She thanked Joe and Pam for “bringing one of the most amazing human beings into this world.” Vanessa also thanked Kobe’s entire family and said his sister Sharia has “gone above and beyond.”

Here’s the video:

Joe and Pam did not attend the ceremony, however. Anansa Sims, who is Matt Barnes’ ex-wife and close friends with Kobe’s sister Shaya, claims to know why. Sims shared a tribute to Kobe on her Instagram page that was attributed to Shaya, whose Instagram is private. Sims said she was told by Shaya that Joe and Pam did not attend the Hall of Fame ceremony because they were not personally invited and were “totally disrespected at the memorial.”

“His parents didn’t just choose not to go to the HOF. His parents were totally disrespected at the memorial. They weren’t personally invited to the HOF,” Sims wrote on Instagram, according to a screenshot captured by The Neighborhood Talk.

Sims also said Joe and Pam wished they had known Kobe expressed a desire for them to attend because they would have gone.

Some of Kobe’s issues with his parents stemmed from his decision to marry Vanessa at such a young age. He reconciled with his parents after the birth of his first daughter, Natalia, but the three went through a public fight in 2013 over some memorabilia.

Lakers legend Jerry West said Kobe’s parents were “traumatized and devastated” over their son’s death. It’s a shame they were unable to work out their differences.

H/T Bro Bible

Kobe Bryant had great reason for not taking games off

Kobe Bryant

There has been a big trend over the last few years of basketball players routinely taking games off in the NBA. “Load management” has not only become a concept, but also a practice.

Kobe Bryant was the antithesis of load management. Bryant played in all 82 regular season games five times during his career and often tried to play through injuries.

Why? The late Lakers legend’s wife Vanessa shared the reason on Saturday. Vanessa spoke on Kobe’s behalf at his Hall of Fame induction ceremony. She said that Kobe often refused to sit games because he wanted to perform for fans who had saved up to watch him play.

That is a wonderful attitude.

At the end of the day, the big contracts, the salaries and the league is all possible because of the fans who love their teams and watch the games. Many current players seem to forget that and only seem to care about themselves and their careers. Bryant kept it in mind. Fortunately, some other veteran players in today’s NBA do share that mentality.

Kevin Garnett opens up about going into Hall of Fame with Kobe Bryant

Kevin Garnett

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony is typically a joyous occasion for all of those involved, but Kevin Garnett understands that this year’s class is going to experience a wide range of emotions.

Garnett spoke with Shams Charania of The Athletic this week about being inducted into the Hall of Fame in the same class as Kobe Bryant. K.G. said that he, Kobe and fellow inductee Tim Duncan all pushed each other to be great during their careers and that it will be “super emotional” not having Bryant there.

“I feel more than honored to go in with these two, but Kobe not being there is gonna be super emotional for everybody,” Garnett said. “The fact that the three of us actually pushed the other two into whether it was awards, All-Star (appearances), battles, rings, we all three pushed the line. To go in with these two guys, I couldn’t ask for two (better people to be inducted with).”

Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a tragic helicopter crash early last year. Michael Jordan will be the presenter for Kobe, and Kobe’s wife Vanessa will give a speech on behalf of the Bryant family.

We all know Kobe would have delivered a memorable Hall of Fame speech, but unfortunately we’ll never be able to hear it. His absence will make the enshrinement bittersweet for Garnett and other members of the NBA community.

Vanessa Bryant to speak in honor of Kobe at Hall of Fame ceremony

Vanessa Bryant

This year’s Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony is sure to feature a wide range of emotions, and Kobe Bryant’s wife Vanessa will experience those first-hand when her late husband is enshrined.

Vanessa Bryant will deliver a speech in honor of Kobe at Saturday’s ceremony, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Inductees typically follow their presenter with a speech, and Vanessa will be assuming that role after Kobe was killed in a tragic helicopter crash last year.

As we previously learned, Michael Jordan will be the presenter when Kobe is inducted into the Hall of Fame. The six-time NBA champion opened up about the honor in an interview this week and shared the last text message exchange he ever had with Kobe.

Vanessa and Jordan both spoke at Kobe’s memorial last year and delivered emotional speeches about the loss of Kobe and his and Vanessa’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna.

Michael Jordan reveals last text exchange he had with Kobe Bryant

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant had an extremely close relationship before Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a helicopter crash last year. Jordan admits he has had trouble accepting the tragedy, which is one of the reasons he can’t bring himself to erase the last communication he ever had with Kobe.

As he prepares to be the presenter for Bryant’s induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday, Jordan spoke with ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan about the ways in which he has coped with Kobe’s death. The six-time champion revealed that he still has the final text messages he exchange with Bryant saved on his phone.

Jordan shared the exchange with MacMullan. He said Kobe reached out to him to tell M.J. how much he enjoyed his Cincoro Tequila, which had just launched. The two then discussed Bryant’s two biggest passions — family and basketball. You can see the full conversation below:

This tequila is awesome,” Kobe texted, referring to Jordan’s Cincoro Tequila, a bottle of which was sent to Bryant at the launch.

“Thank you, my brother,” Jordan responded.

“Yes, sir. Family good?” Kobe replied.

“All good. Yours?”

“All good.”

Jordan smiled, then decided to have a little fun. “He was really into coaching Gigi,” MJ explains, “so I hit him up about that.”

“Happy holidays,” Jordan texted back, “and hope to catch up soon. Coach Kobe??!”

“I added that little crying/laughing emoji,” Jordan chuckles.

“Ah, back at you, man,” Kobe wrote. “Hey, coach, I’m sitting on the bench right now, and we’re blowing this team out. 45-8.”

Jordan, one of the fiercest competitors in sports history, also admitted he is nervous about inducting Kobe into the Hall of Fame. He said he was initially concerned about losing his composure but “realized I’m not going to be nervous about showing emotions for someone I absolutely loved.”

“That’s the humanistic side of me — people tend to forget I do have one,” Jordan said.

Kobe idolized Jordan and modeled his game after the six-time NBA champion. We were reminded of that when “The Last Dance” aired last year, as Kobe gave Jordan credit for his own five championship rings when he was interviewed for the documentary.

Bryant openly tried to play like Jordan, talk like him, lead like him, and win like him. Even his love letter to basketball was just like Jordan’s. The two shared a lot of great memories together, and you can expect Jordan to do a great job of recapping that on Saturday.

H/T Bleacher Report

Jaycee Horn paying tribute to Kobe Bryant with jersey number

Jaycee Horn

One upside of the new NFL jersey number rules is that players can pay tribute to their heroes in ways they previously couldn’t.

That’s what Carolina Panthers first-round pick Jaycee Horn will be doing. The rookie defensive back revealed on Twitter that he’d be wearing No. 8 in honor of Kobe Bryant.

Horn has been pretty attached to the idea of paying tribute to Bryant. In his introductory press conference, Horn entertained the idea of wearing No. 24, Bryant’s other number with the Lakers.

“It’s a great number, it’s definitely in mind,” Horn said, via Cody Benjamin of CBS Sports. “I’m looking at some of those single digits, too, though. See how it works out. My brother was talking to me about it on the way over here (and) change my mind a little bit. We’ll see how it shakes out.”

It’s a pretty popular move to switch one’s jersey number in honor of Kobe. Horn might not be the last NFL player we see using that as a reason to do something like this.

Shaq has hot take about how many more rings he could have won with Kobe Bryant

Shaquille O'Neal

The Shaquille O’Neal-Kobe Bryant Los Angeles Lakers were easily one of the greatest teams in NBA history, winning three straight championships. But O’Neal believes they could have won more than double that if they had stayed together longer.

O’Neal appeared this week on Showtime’s “All The Smoke” podcast. During the episode, the Hall of Fame big man was asked how many more rings he could have won with Bryant had they stayed together in Los Angeles.

“Seven,” O’Neal replied. “The reason why I got traded, it wasn’t about me and Kobe beef. It was that they wanted me to take less money. I’m not doing that. I got money, I had money. I just should’ve been like, ‘Alright, I raised you enough. It’s your team now.’ I know what I’m gonna do. I’m still gonna do my 28 [points] and ten [rebounds].

“But I was like, “Nah, I want 150 [million dollars],” added O’Neal. “If I had to do it all over again, I probably would have had a meeting with the [Buss] family. ‘What y’all wanna do? Want me to take less money, take a lesser role, and stay here? Or you still want me to be Shaq?’ See, it’s that ego. The ego still got me what I wanted. I still went to Miami. Pat [Riley] took care of me, and I still won one. But I would’ve liked to stay there the rest of my career.”

Indeed, O’Neal won another NBA title with the Heat and dynamic guard Dwyane Wade in 2006 after being traded there. Bryant would also go on to win two more rings with the Lakers once they acquired another dominant big man in Pau Gasol. But winning another four championships together probably would have been a stretch.

The Lakers’ supporting cast around O’Neal and Bryant was aging after they came up short in the 2004 Finals with Karl Malone and Gary Payton. Head coach Phil Jackson also left the team after that season, though he did later return for another six seasons of coaching the Lakers. Finally, rivals in the Western Conference like the San Antonio Spurs, Phoenix Suns, and Dallas Mavericks were only getting stronger in the mid-2000s.

The O’Neal-Bryant partnership was always somewhat precarious as well. But it is definitely often fun to wonder what more could have been there.

Kobe Bryant used Olympic gold medal as motivational tool for Pau Gasol

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant was famous for having his “Mamba Mentality” approach to attacking life. He once used that mentality on his former Los Angeles Lakers teammate, Pau Gasol.

Lakers owner Jeanie Buss was a guest on the “All The Smoke” show last week. She said in the interview that after the United States beat Spain to win the gold medal in the 2008 Olympics, Kobe hung his gold medal in Pau’s Lakers locker.

Gasol confirmed the story and didn’t seem to mind. He even threw in a goat emoji, to signify that Bryant is the “Greatest of All Time.”

Few things would probably motivate someone more than seeing a reminder of the trophy they beat you out for.

To place things in context, the Lakers had just acquired Gasol in a trade with Memphis in February. They lost to the Celtics in the NBA Finals that year. He and Bryant had only been teammates for 27 regular season games when Bryant did that.

The Olympics took place in August, six months after the trade. The Lakers then went out and won back-to-back championships under Bryant and Gasol’s play and leadership.

Some people might have taken a gesture like that the wrong way, but it might have brought out the best in Gasol. Back in 2016, Bryant shared his side of the story.

Report: Vanessa Bryant not renewing Kobe’s Nike contract

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant’s long-standing association with Nike appears to be over.

According to ESPN’s NBA sneaker expert Nick DePaula, Bryant’s wife Vanessa, who controls Kobe’s Trust, decided not to renew her late husband’s contract with Nike. DePaula says the partnership between the Bryants and Nike is “done.” It is unclear if this is temporary or permanent, but for now, there are no plans for any further Bryant-related merchandise releases by the company.

Bryant had been with Nike for 17 years leading up to his death in January 2020. It was recently claimed that Bryant had been planning to leave Nike prior to his passing and start his own shoe company. Perhaps that is what Vanessa plans to do in an effort to comply with her late husband’s wishes.

It’s still surprising to hear about Bryant’s association with Nike ending. He was, after all, famously loyal to the brand during his career.