The year of 2020 has been unlike any other, maybe in American history. Just when it feels like things can’t get worse, it seems like they do and it started at the beginning of the year when tragic death of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant sent shockwaves through the entire world.
Kobe’s death was felt by everyone within the Lakers organization from owner Jeanie Buss down to the last player on the bench and everyone in between. It stretched beyond that through the entire NBA, other sports leagues, and fans who all loved and respected the five-time champion.
Jeanie Buss had such a close relationship with Bryant and it has undoubtedly been very difficult for her to handle his untimely passing, especially with what he meant to her personally and the Lakers franchise as a whole. Jeanie recently appeared on the “Daddy Issues Podcast with Joe Buck and Oliver Hudson” and discussed never wanting to take a player like Kobe for granted:
“I would give anything to go back and have Jan. 26 never take place. But, for me, when my dad bought the team in 1979 and that first year won a championship, then five in the ‘80s, and when Magic had to retire, it all stopped. The next year we didn’t make the playoffs and it was depressing. I prayed to the skies above and said, ‘If we ever get a player on our team like Magic Johnson, I will never, ever, ever take that player for granted.
Jeanie continued, revealing that she finds comfort in knowing how much the Lakers franchise supported and loved Bryant:
“Then we got Kobe. As heartbroken as I am, the one comfort that I have is Kobe knew how much we loved him. We told him, we retired his numbers, and he never doubted that we were behind him 100%. That gives me some comfort, because we never held back the celebrating the greatness that was Kobe.”
One thing the Lakers organization has always done a great job of is treating their superstars like family. Whoever it is, from Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Jerry West to James Worthy, Shaquille O’Neal and Bryant, the Lakers have always done everything to appease their players and especially their icons.
Bryant undoubtedly was at the top of that list. It has been difficult for everyone in the wake of his death, especially to those closest to him. The Lakers surely did right by Bryant throughout his time on this earth and Jeanie will likely continue that even after his passing.
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