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#pounditFriday, December 3, 2021

Articles tagged: Kobe Bryant

Video: Shaq thoughtfully recognizes Kobe Bryant’s parents Joe and Pam

Kobe parents Joe Pam

Throughout the coverage and talk about the tragedy involving Kobe and Gianna Bryant, the subject of Bryant’s parents has received little coverage.

Kobe had a rocky relationship with his parents Joe and Pam. Some of the issues began when Kobe decided to marry at 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.

Even if Joe and Pam’s relationship with Kobe has been difficult, losing a child still hurts them tremendously. Jerry West said last month that Bryant’s parents were “traumatized and devastated.”

Bryant’s parents were at Monday’s memorial at Staples Center honoring Kobe and Gianna. During TNT’s postgame show Tuesday, Shaq shared that he sat next to Bryant’s parents at the ceremony. The Big Fella shouted them out with a very thoughtful message on TV.

“I want to shout out Kobe’s parents. I was sitting next to them, and of course I’ve known them for a while. I just want to send my condolences to them. They don’t really get mentioned a lot, but just want you to let you know if you ever need me, I’m always going to be there for you,” Shaq said.

Shaq is exactly right — they don’t get mentioned much, but there is no doubt they and Kobe’s two sisters are hurting. The recognition from Shaq was thoughtful.

Scott Boras will honor one of Kobe Bryant’s last wishes, make Alexis Altobelli an intern

One of the last things Kobe Bryant did before he died in a helicopter crash last month was try to use his connections to help a family friend, and MLB agent Scott Boras is going to make sure Kobe’s wish is carried out.

Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka, who was best friends with Kobe and the godfather of Gianna Bryant, told a touching story at the memorial service for Kobe and Gianna on Monday about how Kobe tried to help a family friend secure an internship in the minutes before his death. While flying in the helicopter that would eventually crash into the Calabasas hillside, Bryant texted Pelinka asking if the GM could contact “a certain baseball agent based in Southern California” on behalf of John Altobelli’s 16-year-old daughter, Alexis. Altobelli, a longtime baseball coach at Orange Coast College, also died in the helicopter crash with his wife Keri and 14-year-old daughter Alyssa, who played with Gianna at the Mamba Academy.

“Kobe’s last human act was heroic,” Pelinka said. “He wanted to use his platform to bless and shape a young girl’s future.”

Bryant wanted help from Pelinka getting in touch with Scott Boras, who Kobe hoped would consider Alexis for an internship. Boras told Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times this week that he will create an internship for Alexis. The agent said plans were already in place before the crash to have John and Alexis visit Boras’ office and explore the possibility of Alexis gaining work experience by interning there. Boras knew John from when Dallas Keuchel — a Boras client — pitched simulated games against Altobelli’s OCC players to work on his arm strength.

Boras says he has been in contact with J.J. Altobelli, who is Alexis’ brother and a scout with the Boston Red Sox. Boras and Bryant belonged to the same church in Newport Beach but never exchanged phone numbers, which is why Kobe wanted Pelinka’s help getting in touch with Boras.

It’s impossible to imagine the pain Alexis and J.J. are experiencing after losing their mother, father and sister in a tragedy. John Altobelli was a respected member of the baseball community, and it sounds like both Alexis and J.J. are well positioned to carry out that legacy.

Tom Brady issues lengthy statement explaining how Kobe Bryant’s death impacted him

Tom Brady

Tom Brady has paid tribute to Kobe Bryant in subtle ways since the NBA legend died in a helicopter crash last month, but Brady decided to wait until after Monday’s memorial service to share some more in-depth thoughts about the tragedy.

Brady issued a lengthy statement on social media Tuesday morning, with the quarterback saying he has been “deeply affected” by the death of Kobe, Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and the seven others who died in the helicopter accident. Brady tried to put into words why the tragedy has “kept me up at night and brought me so many tears.”

“Kobe didn’t care whether you were a man or woman, boy or girl, black or white, rich or poor, ordinary or extraordinary, he wanted to help you become the best that you could be,” Brady wrote. “His mere presence had an effect on everybody he was around. He had the energy to recognize in others what they could not recognize in themselves. I think that’s why I will miss him most. Because we all know the world needs more of that leadership and positivity.”

The memorial service that was held at Staples Center on Tuesday featured a wide array of touching moments that brought both laughter and tears for thousands of people. Kobe’s wife Vanessa delivered an emotional speech about her late husband and daughter, and Shaq provided a brief moment of much-needed comic relief.

Kobe had the rare ability to inspire athletes from all different sports, and Brady was clearly among the many legends who admired him.

Video: Shaq drops F-bomb on live TV during Kobe Bryant memorial

Shaquille O’Neal gave an awesome speech at the memorial service held for Kobe Bryant and Kobe’s daughter, Gianna, on Monday.

Shaq kept his speech short and — to the surprise of no one — lightened things up for the thousands of fans at Staples Center. One of the best parts about the speech was when he spoke about the day Kobe earned his respect when the two were teammates with the Los Angeles Lakers. Shaq said some other Lakers players were complaining about Kobe not passing the ball, and Shaq told his teammates he’d talk to Kobe about it. When he told Kobe there’s no “I” in team, O’Neal says Bryant responded that “there’s an ‘M-E’ in that motherf—er.’ The F-bomb was caught on live TV.

Shaq also took a shot at himself when he promised to teach Kobe’s daughters all of their dad’s moves, but he said he will make sure to shield them from Shaq’s infamous free throw technique.

There were plenty of tearful moments during the memorial, but Shaq gave fans, friends and family what we have come to expect from The Big Fella. Michael Jordan also gave a great speech that included a well-timed joke, so the legends of the NBA did their best to make Monday a celebration of life while also mourning a terrible loss.

Also from the Kobe and Gianna Memorial:
Michael Jordan cracks hilarious ‘Crying Jordan’ meme joke
Video: Shaq drops F-bomb on live TV during Kobe Bryant memorial
Video: Watch Vanessa Bryant’s full speech about Gianna and Kobe at memorial
Vanessa Bryant says daughter Gianna would have become best player in WNBA
Diana Taurasi takes funny shot at LeBron during Kobe Bryant memorial
Geno Auriemma zings Kobe Bryant about being ‘uncoachable,’ not passing

Michael Jordan cracks hilarious ‘Crying Jordan’ meme joke

Michael Jordan crying

Monday’s memorial for Kobe and Gianna Bryant was a somber time for many and resulted in a lot of crying and sadness, even for Michael Jordan. But it also led to a hilarious joke.

MJ was the first speaker after Alicia Keys performed Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata” on the piano during the memorial at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

“Now he’s got me. I’ll have to look at another crying meme for the next … I told my wife I wasn’t going to do this, because I didn’t want to see this for the next 3-4 years. That is what Kobe Bryant does to me!” MJ said.

Here is video:

The “Crying Jordan” meme has its origins in Jordan crying during his 2009 Hall of Fame speech. The photo started being used as a Photoshop for moments of embarrassment, and it was widespread on the Internet around 2016 and 2017, even making a game show, though it has died down since.

MJ probably doesn’t need to worry about it now any more.

Also from the Kobe and Gianna Memorial:
Video: Shaq drops F-bomb on live TV during Kobe Bryant memorial
Video: Watch Vanessa Bryant’s full speech about Gianna and Kobe at memorial
Vanessa Bryant says daughter Gianna would have become best player in WNBA
Diana Taurasi takes funny shot at LeBron during Kobe Bryant memorial
Geno Auriemma zings Kobe Bryant about being ‘uncoachable,’ not passing

Video: Vanessa Bryant full speech about Gianna and Kobe at memorial

Vanessa Bryant speech

Vanessa Bryant was the first speaker at the memorial for her late husband Kobe and daughter, Gianna, at Staples Center on Monday in Los Angeles, and delivered incredible eulogies for them both.

Vanessa spoke for 22 minutes, first about daughter Gianna, and next about Kobe. She described each of their characters, talked about her fondest memories of them, and shared intimate details about each of them.

Here is video of her entire speech. If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s well worth your time:

Vanessa and Kobe met in 1999 when she was 17. They got married in 2001 and have been together ever since. They had four children — all daughters — Gianna being their second-oldest girl. Kobe was 41 and Gianna 13 when they died in a helicopter crash on January 26 that killed nine people.

Also from the Kobe and Gianna Memorial:
Michael Jordan cracks hilarious ‘Crying Jordan’ meme joke
Video: Shaq drops F-bomb on live TV during Kobe Bryant memorial
Video: Watch Vanessa Bryant’s full speech about Gianna and Kobe at memorial
Vanessa Bryant says daughter Gianna would have become best player in WNBA
Diana Taurasi takes funny shot at LeBron during Kobe Bryant memorial
Geno Auriemma zings Kobe Bryant about being ‘uncoachable,’ not passing

Geno Auriemma zings Kobe Bryant about being ‘uncoachable,’ not passing

Geno Auriemma smile

There were a lot of tearful moments at the memorial service for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna on Monday, but UConn women’s basketball coach Geno Auriemma did his best to help keep things light.

Auriemma was one of several people who spoke at the remembrance. The 11-time national champion had a close relationship with Kobe, who made a huge impact in the women’s basketball community. During his speech, Auriemma joked about how he felt bad for Gianna when Geno learned that Kobe would be coaching Gianna’s team. Auriemma said he found it ironic when “the uncoachable one” reached out to him for advice about coaching. The UConn coach then joked that he knew Gianna wasn’t listening to her father’s advice when he saw Gianna pass the ball to one of her teammates.

One of Auriemma’s former players, Diana Taurasi, also tried to keep the mood a bit lighter by taking a funny shot at LeBron James.

Bryant was certainly known more for scoring than passing, and that is something he had no problem owning. It’s also a mentality that made him one of the greatest players of all time, so poking fun at him for being a ball hog is in many ways a compliment.

Also from the Kobe and Gianna Memorial:
Michael Jordan cracks hilarious ‘Crying Jordan’ meme joke
Video: Shaq drops F-bomb on live TV during Kobe Bryant memorial
Video: Watch Vanessa Bryant’s full speech about Gianna and Kobe at memorial
Vanessa Bryant says daughter Gianna would have become best player in WNBA
Diana Taurasi takes funny shot at LeBron during Kobe Bryant memorial
Geno Auriemma zings Kobe Bryant about being ‘uncoachable,’ not passing

Diana Taurasi takes funny shot at LeBron during Kobe Bryant memorial

Diana Taurasi brought a bit of levity to the Kobe Bryant memorial in Los Angeles on Monday with a hilarious shot at LeBron James.

Taurasi, who is a 3-time WNBA champion and the league’s all-time scoring leader, was discussing the skill level of Bryant’s daughter Gigi Bryant at a young age, remarking how amazing it was that she had a turnaround fadeaway jumper at the age of 11. Then she zeroed in on LeBron with the funniest line of the day to that point, remarking that he doesn’t even have it now.

Taurasi knew Bryant well, and he was a big fan of hers, even giving her a nickname inspired by his own. Now she even gets to take a friendly shot at LeBron in his own building at Bryant’s memorial service with a very memorable line.

Also from the Kobe and Gianna Memorial:
Michael Jordan cracks hilarious ‘Crying Jordan’ meme joke
Video: Shaq drops F-bomb on live TV during Kobe Bryant memorial
Video: Watch Vanessa Bryant’s full speech about Gianna and Kobe at memorial
Vanessa Bryant says daughter Gianna would have become best player in WNBA
Diana Taurasi takes funny shot at LeBron during Kobe Bryant memorial
Geno Auriemma zings Kobe Bryant about being ‘uncoachable,’ not passing

Vanessa Bryant reportedly files wrongful death lawsuit against helicopter company

Kobe Bryant

An investigation into the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna last month is still ongoing, but Bryant’s wife Vanessa is apparently confident the tragedy could have been avoided if proper safety measures were taken.

According to a report from TMZ, Vanessa Bryant has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company that owned the helicopter in which Kobe, Gianna and seven others were traveling when it crashed into the hillside in Calabasas, Calif., on Jan. 26. The lawsuit claims that Island Express, the company that owned the chopper, was only authorized to fly under visual flight rules. The conditions the day of the fatal crash did not meet the standards of visual flight rules, meaning any pilot operating in them would be doing so under special visual flight rules, or special VFR.

The lawsuit states that the pilot, Ara Zobayan, was traveling 180 mph in foggy conditions in a steep decline at the time of the crash. The documents also note that Zobayan was disciplined in 2015 for violating the visual flight rule minimums by flying into an airspace of reduced visibility.

Vanessa Bryant is seeking punitive damages, claiming Zoboyan and Island Express were reckless. A specific dollar amount for the damages was not listed.

Kobe traveled with Zobayan frequently, and all indications are Zobayan was his most trusted pilot. Kawhi Leonard spoke highly of Zobayan after the crash and said he had flown with the pilot many times.

Preliminary findings that were released by the National Transportation Safety Board earlier this month revealed that there was no evidence of engine failure at the time of the helicopter crash. A chilling video of the helicopter minutes before the tragedy showed that it was flying in very foggy conditions, and audio that was released from before the crash also showed that conditions were not ideal.

Custom cars outside Staples Center pay tribute to Kobe, Gianna Bryant

Kobe Bryant daughter Gianna

Staples Center and the surrounding area was littered with purple and gold and tributes to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna on Monday. We’ve seen dozens of murals in Los Angeles since Kobe, Gianna and seven others died in a tragic helicopter crash last month, and some of those murals are even on cars.

Prior to Monday’s memorial, exotic cars featuring custom Kobe and Gianna paint jobs were spotted outside Staples Center.

Monday’s memorial service is expected to be one of the most emotional days in Staples Center history. Thousands of people applied for tickets to the event, and there was even talk of moving it to the LA Coliseum to meet the demand. However, it is only fitting that the service is being held where Kobe dominated on the court and became a global icon.

The Lakers hosted the Celtics at Staples Center on Sunday, and we saw an awesome tribute from Boston legend Bill Russell. There will be countless more during Monday’s ceremony.

Also from the Kobe and Gianna Memorial:
Michael Jordan cracks hilarious ‘Crying Jordan’ meme joke
Video: Shaq drops F-bomb on live TV during Kobe Bryant memorial
Video: Watch Vanessa Bryant’s full speech about Gianna and Kobe at memorial
Vanessa Bryant says daughter Gianna would have become best player in WNBA
Diana Taurasi takes funny shot at LeBron during Kobe Bryant memorial
Geno Auriemma zings Kobe Bryant about being ‘uncoachable,’ not passing