Welcome to the Laker Central live stream.
Most of you already know.
Um, we got some of the worst news that, um I've ever received as a basketball fan.
Um, I hope you guys on the Twitter livestream can hear me.
And I hope everyone listening or watching, I should say on the SportsCastr Lifestream, um, can hear me as well.
But what I'm doing right now is I'm gonna talk about Kobe, and I'm going to, um, share my thoughts on him and why he ultimately became my favorite player.
Ah, he was there for me, even if he did not know it.
Um, in some of my roughest times.
And just this week, um, I was fortunate enough to go to the Lakers game in New York, um, against the Knicks.
And then I was at, um, the Philly game yesterday against the 70 Sixers, and on my way home today, my wife, uh, I don't know, some might texture or she saw it on social media, but she's like, um, I got some of the bad news and I thought it was something specific to one of our you know, our families are our family Uh, no.
She said you need to pull over or let me drive.
And I said, What's up? And she didn't want to tell me.
Um And then she said, um, there are reports that Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash.
And, um ah, you know, social Media kills people all the time, so I'm like, Okay, trying to figure out if it's real or not.
Um, and then ultimately it's confirmed.
You know, by T m z ESPN a number of other outlets that Kobe died in a plane crash.
And at that point, there are other conflicting reports about who else was involved.
But Kobe passing in a, uh, airplane crash.
I'm sorry in a helicopter crash and along with his daughter, a Guiana or DJ.
And now we've learned, I believe there were some seven others, including the pilot that passed.
So so everybody.
That's a Laker fan.
That's a Kobe Bryant fan.
I feel your pain. You are not alone.
There are so many of us going through it right now.
Um, and my wife told me, and then I'm trying to process everything, and I see that it's really, um and I'm driving and people start calling me because I've been a Laker fan and almost my entire life.
Um, I obviously have this Lakers podcast and all this stuff.
And so people know that I'm a big Laker fan, so they're naturally people reaching out to me, And, um, I just couldn't answer the phone.
I couldn't respond to text.
I kinda had to digest everything like many, many fans are out there doing right now and then all of a sudden, um, all of all of a sudden, I just I just started crying like it was crazy.
Um, it was absolutely crazy.
Someone was calling me while broadcasting on Twitter trying to get it going again.
Hold on, Twitter.
Sorry about that.
City people are calling me because they want to talk to me about it.
Um, and and that's understandable.
I appreciate everybody reaching out.
Um, because this is this really hard on me.
Um, So, um, shot out everybody was watching the tour last dream.
Um, had somebody call me.
So I'm sorry. That's what kind of kicked stream off.
Um, but so the news is confirmed that Kobe was killed in a helicopter crash and and I'm driving and I'm quiet.
I'm processing things.
People calling and texting me.
And then, um, like, tears just started streaming down my eyes Like it.
It was a overwhelming feeling to have just, you know, been to to Laker games this week to be on my way home from the Philly game and to get that news, because that's news that you never really expect.
Um, and what's up? Score some school? Um, man and then you We learned that that Kobe tragically passed away.
And so what I wanted to do with kind of tell my story to share my tribute to Kobe because, as I mentioned, he was there for me.
Even if he didn't know me, Um, he was there for me.
It's a really tough times.
And when I was a kid, um, you know, it's it's interesting when you're in East Coast person and you wrap the Lakers and you know I'm not I'm not a liquor Emmy.
Ah, Wizards fan or infect Knicks fan nets.
None of that nonsense Lake show all day.
This hat I bought at Kobe Bryant's last game against the Jazz.
I happen to be in the building.
I'll tell you guys about that.
But I was in the building forthe last game, never wore this hat ever, and it's my first time putting it on.
Um, But as I mentioned, um, when I was a teenager, I grew up raised by my grand parents, and many of us are.
Many of you guys were raised by grand parents or other people that might not have been the actual parents.
And so I was raised by my grand parents.
And then around 15 or so 15 years old, my grandfather had a heart attack and he had to have a triple bypass on his heart to save him.
And at that moment, um, my grandmother said, um, we need you to go live with your mom and, you know, when your grandfather recovers.
If you want to come back home, you can Okay, no problem.
Um, I was with her every summer time every every weekend.
I was always with her, but I lived my grand parents for a long time.
So my grandfather, as he recovered from his heart attack, um, my grandmother, her breast cancer returns now she had breast cancer before I was born.
Um, but it came back when I was a teenager.
So my grandfather has his heart attack.
He survives, He recovers.
He's still alive today.
And then, um, about a year later, we find out my grandmother's breast cancer came back.
And so, you know, my grandfather, my grandmother, you know, they're my parents in a lot of ways, you know, my whole world is shaking up.
I now have to leave my home with them and go live with my mom, who I said I love.
But it was still, you know, I was I was accustomed to, um I was accustomed to, you know, living my grandparents and my world gets flipped upside down.
Um, and it was a rough time for me because grandfather recovers.
But then my grandmother had breast cancer comes back, and within two years of my grandmother's breast cancer returning, she passes away.
And it was one of the roughest times of my life to see my grandfather had a heart attack to see my grandmother die in two years.
You're gonna live with my mom.
Um, just my world flipped upside down, but in the middle of all of that.
In the middle of all of that were the Los Angeles Lakers, Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant.
I was a huge Shaquille O'Neal fan when he was at L S U.
And some of you already know this.
But when I was a little kid, um, I had a shack, Orlando, Jersey, and my brother had a a Penny Hardaway jersey.
And when Shack went to L.
I follow man, and that happened be that same summer that Jerry West and Jerry Buss and all the guys involved with the Lakers.
They They saw something in a young Kobe Bryant fresh out of high school, and they traded Vlade Eve awkward draft rights and he becomes a Laker and something about Kobe.
Um, he was highly skilled.
He was very good at what he did.
He was determined he was flamboyant.
He added, There was a lot of Michael Jordan in him.
Um, it just I was an instant fan, and obviously the Lakers, they were building something with Shaq and Kobe.
And so, as they started to win, you know, the Lakers became something that took my mind off of some of the changes that were happening in my regular my real life.
So they became immensely important to me and people who don't understand what it's like to I feel this way when a celebrity dies.
You know, people often feel like you can only feel this way when, like you're, ah, a family member, a parent, a child, a spouse, someone that is related to you passes.
But in some regards, it feels like I grew up a co pay.
He was 41 when he passed.
You know, we're not that far apart in age.
Um, as he matured, I matured.
He just became such a huge part of, um, my world.
And you know, so much so that, you know, I could have bad days or whatever and be going through things.
And, um, I just couldn't wait for the Lakers. Come on.
Here on the East Coast would be at 10. 30.
I'd be up all night watching Lakers games, then back then, turning right to SportsCenter to catch the highlights.
Um, the Lakers brought me so much joy, as did Kobe.
Um and you know, he brought me so much joy in that when I got married my wife and I We got married in Jamaica, and, um, you know, the year Kobe retired, um, I wanted to go see him play.
I figured it might be his last year, but he hasn't officially announced.
So, um, ask my wife, you know, did she want Oh, you know, got married.
We were gonna get married.
L a Did you wanna fly out to L.
A one of Kobe's games? I figured, let's just go to the last one of that season.
And, um, she said, Sure, because she loves l.
So I happen to buy my tickets.
Um, a few weeks before he announced his retirement and I bought my tickets, you know? Then he announces his retirement, and the second leg of our honeymoon is in L.
A at the Luck City Center Hotel right across the street from Staples Center.
And, um, I will never, ever forget that experience.
Thio the second leg of my honeymoon to be at Staples Center for Kobe's last game with other Laker fans.
It was just simply amazing and to be there, and he goes for 60 points and the debt ceiling in the crowd and being one of his supporters for so long.
It was just It's just a crazy feeling, Um, and he means a ton to me.
And so many means a ton to so many other people and being at that Philly game the other night and LeBron passes them in scoring.
And then Kobe tweeted out.
I'm looking at the tree right now.
Kobe tweeted, continuing to move the game forward.
King James much respect my brother.
That's less than 24 hours ago.
So at this point, where Lakers nation is devastated, then be a world is devastated.
Um, I can only imagine what Kobe's wife, Vanessa, and their three Children feel like.
I can't imagine what, um, Joe Jellybean Bryant, Kobe's father, his mother.
I know he has one sister.
I'm not that he might have to, but his siblings what they feel like in this moment losing a loved one is terrible.
And, um, I mention I lost my grandmother when I was a teenager.
I lost my mom last year, were actually coming up on that on a year for the death of her anniversary anniversary for death and all that emotion of this guy Kobe dying like within a year, my mom dying.
And it's funny because my mom was a huge Bulls fan.
She loved Michael Jordan.
Love Scottie Pippen all right school.
And, um, my mom used to always say Kobe would never be better than Michael like she would always say those things.
And as she would jab me and make fun of the Lakers and all this stuff, it only make me like them, or I just I just became more infatuated with the Lakers.
Um, and it is absolutely below, um, I kicked in the gut for this guy to have passed away.
Um, in the shocking way that he did with his daughter at that, his daughter that in her own right has become kind of famous g who, you know, playing basketball looked a lot like Kobe on the court.
She was at Laker games courtside with him, and he'd be teaching her the game.
And, you know, we got to see a glimpse of you know, what his daughter was like and and shut out too.
I gotta look closer, Thio What Your name is.
I can't pronounce it, But the last part says shut.
But shout out to you, man.
Look, I don't think people understand what it feels like.
Um, I really don't.
And like when people were calling me in texting me and I'm like, all right, did he really pass away? And then when it's confirmed and I'm just driving just quiet, just driving.
And then, like, the tears just came.
And I'm, um you know, I put my phone down because there was just so much going on social media, like I said between, you know, my social media accounts.
I have a couple Laker group checks.
You know, people were texting me and those and trying to process my own emotions with everybody else's emotions.
Um, And then, you know, I'm a fan of the Lakers, you know, and I always will be.
I'm a fan of Kobe Bryant always will be.
But I have this Laker Central podcast, right? That and I cover the team.
And I thought to myself, Well, should I take like, a day and collect all my thoughts? So I, you know, do any of this right now and then I thought about Kobe and I just felt like would he ever stop? Even in the best of attract tragedy, he would still be practicing still be working on his craft.
He just kept pushing this.
So I decided to do this life dream.
I'm gonna do an official podcast tonight as well.
I've got an article coming out to pay tribute to him.
I'm trying Thio connect with as many fans possible.
Um, because this really is a blow.
And I I'm trying to figure out if there's ever been a loss like this in the basketball community, really? Into sports community at all.
Many, many of us, even myself, or really too young to know what it felt like when Len Bias tragically died out of Maryland.
But Kobe was such a such a celebrity.
Um, the world knows who he is, and in some ways it feels like with guys like him who we kind of grew up with or who's been in the spotlight for so long.
It almost feels like we know them personally.
And I never had the pleasure of meeting him.
That's something I thought I would end up doing at some point.
Um, he's being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this year.
I have every intention on attending the Basketball Hall of Fame induction, and I had planned on meeting him there and possibly getting an interview with a guy that I grew up with, a guy I idolized growing up a guy that I respected now as an adult and as a husband.
Um, unfortunately, I won't have that opportunity.
And so within los, you always kind of reflect on what you should have done, what you could do.
You reflect on the people that are around you.
Um, life is short, it is precious and having lost my parents and knowing what that felt like and then having lost this guy, that basically is my idol.
Certainly in sports, Um, it's just an overwhelming feeling that you really shouldn't take any day for granted.
And we say these things when when something tragic happens, we say live, live for the moment.
And don't take people for granted.
Um, but those are just words.
They're really not.
You have a responsibility to live your life and to enjoy it.
And I think Kobe did that.
He was in immensely successful on the basketball court and the things that he's working, working on off the court with Kobe ink and investing or, um, short stories for Children.
His basketball academy? Um, he was one of the more gracious guys that kind of retired, you know, at his love weather as, ah Hall of Fame level and then continue to pass the game on the guy's whether or not they were Lakers or not.
So you saw him work with Kawai and Paul George Russell Westbrook.
Um, James Harden.
You know, never guys a special connection with, like Hye Ri Irving.
Um DEMAR DeRozan.
It's rough, it's rough and sure.
I never met him personally, Um, but he had a profound impact on my life.
And so much so that here I am hosting the Lakers podcast, and it's interesting where you find where I find myself in this very moment.
Um, so many fans are grieving, and I've tried to put it into words for people.
Before this happened, I would try to put into words what sports meant to someone like me into a lot of you out there as well.
And it was always hard to articulate two people who really aren't sports fans.
And maybe they're just casual sports, man.
And I would often point to, you know, if there was a child that was dying in their last wish was to meet their favorite superstar, you know, from basketball player or football player or whatever and what that meant for them.
Um, these guys have tremendous power and impact, and you watch them, you know, in the N b A.
At least they're on TV 3 to 4 times a week.
You know, with it, with this rise of social media, they are directly engaging with fans and the way that they never did when I was growing up.
And so you almost feel like, you know, these people, You really d'oh! Um, and you get connected to him And Kobe is I've always said he's one of the greatest basketball players of all time, and you, you rank him.
Bring him where you will.
Um, was that my year, Mike, somebody otr Mike is somebody I grew up with, and I have another podcast with him, and, um, no, he wasn't a Kobe fan at all, but he always respected Kobe's game.
Um and so I always appreciate that um, but these guys just have these impacts on a life lives and somebody like Kobe.
It was dope to see him at Laker games, coaching his daughter and showing her different things was dope to see him in Iraq, LeBron and other players as they came to the Lakers.
Um, it is just it is just immensely heartbreaking.
And there are gonna be people out there who are gonna look to capitalize on Kobe's death.
There are gonna be people who you don't wanna poke fans like myself and and say, Why are you so upset? They're getting people out there that want to bring up, you know, things that that they don't like about Kobe.
None of that matters.
Oh, to hell with all of them.
All that matters is Kobe is somebody that, you know, we as fans, deeply admired.
And I'm a big believer in giving people that roses while they're here.
You know, we often wait for somebody to pass away to say, ****, they were good, you know, They were a great person, and they were great at something or you loved him. What? You should've did this.
You should have Did that give them their roses while they're here, celebrate with them while they could hug you and smile when and scream and shout and then reflect on their life when they're no longer here and tell stories and share things and maybe other people don't know about them.
Um, without Kobe Bryant, I would have struggled even MME.
Or so to get through the death of my grandmother.
And without Kobe Bryant, I probably don't have this Laker Central podcast.
Um, he has impacted me.
As I've mentioned several times throughout this live stream.
He's impacted me in a way that, um I didn't know it was possible, but it is.
And I I now have to figure out, You know, how I cover the Lakers without knowing that he's out there somewhere tweeting or or showing up a games or doing interviews and sharing his insight on the game, or even sharing his insight on just like anything in the world.
Um, you know, I'm saddened for Vanessa and their Children.
I'm saddened for Joe Bryant.
I'm saddened for Rob Pelinka, who was Kobe's longtime manager.
Ah, and I can only imagine what Robin's going through right now.
Um, he still has to run the Lakers and Rob is the godfather of I don't know if if all of Kobe's Children were one of them, but I know he's the godfather of at least one of them.
Um, Rob may have been his best friend, and now he needs to go on and figure out how to navigate without his best friend.
Someone like Jeannie Buss, Um, who obviously knew Kobe close, right? Like these people who run this $1,000,000,000 organization, this franchise that we love have to figure out how I'm not only Thio continue to operate the franchise, but how to honor Kobe.
And maybe that's the best way to keep working because we've heard the legendary stories of his work ethic ethic.
So maybe that's just the best way to honor him.
Um, I'm debating if I'm gonna come in L A for, you know, try to come Thio Service's or something for him, or any parades or anything that they do honoring him.
I'm working on that.
Um, it's It's a sad day and I don't know what else to share.
Um, I am gonna like I said, do a podcast this evening.
It'll be out Monday morning and I'll share them or my thoughts.
And then I'm going to write a piece for Lake Show Life.
Um, as my tribute to Kobe, Um, I probably jumped back in with SportsCastr in and Twitter Live and tried to talk to fans.
Um, but it's rough and in my health right now.
You know, my wife, she never been a Laker fan, per se not like me, but she likes the Lakers and she was in tears.
And it's this weird or right now at my house.
Um, it's just really weird.
And I was even wondering if I could do this the stream if I'd be able to get up here and do it without crying or tear, right? You know, Thio told other fans out there of somebody of Kobe, um, Rocky Laker jerseys, Rocky Kobe jerseys in your Kobe hats and your jackets and and post pictures of all the stuff that you have when you went to games and when you got to meet him or whatever, Um, because I don't think we will ever, ever see another player like Kobe.
He was as fascinating a basketball player as I think that we will have.
Maybe athlete ever.
Um, the five championships, the Olympic gold medals, scoring titles.
He should have more than one M v p.
Um, he was the baddest man to walk the basketball planet for a stretch.
And wherever you rank him and you're all time ranks, it simply does not matter.
I only ask that you pay proper respects to someone that helped grow this game in a way where fans like me and you can connect and enjoy the Lakers together.
So shut out to everybody out there struggling tonight, trying to figure out how to process it.
It's rough, but you are not alone.
Um, and that's that's really all I got, guys, Um, until next time I'm out.