When news broke that Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash, the NBA and their fans immediately began to mourn and pay their respects to the families involved.
The current Los Angeles Lakers roster was on a plane ride back home when they found out and it took some time before they were able to publicly share their feelings and emotions about Bryant’s tragic death.
However, after their game against the Portland Trail Blazers, Anthony Davis shared a fun story about Bryant at the 2012 Summer Olympics.
“The memory that I’ll always have is my time with him in the Olympics. First time I met him and I’ll never forget… we were playing Nigeria and Bron probably remember, I think we were winning by like 60 or something like that and I finally got my chance to go in the game. And I was just so happy to be around all these guys, all these future Hall of Famers, and I forgot to put my jersey on before the game. And so when Coach K called me to get in the game, I’m going up to the table and I’m about to take my warm up shirt off and I look down and it’s just a white T-shirt underneath,” Davis shared.
“And so I kinda creep back to the bench and Coach K asked me, ‘What are you doing?’ and I kinda whispered to him cause I didn’t want these guys to hear me. I forgot my jersey and I go sit down. And Kobe got on me like… I can’t say what he said, but basically like, ‘Why you not going in the game? This your chance.’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t got my jersey on’ and there’s a picture where he’s like kinda looking into my warm up. And he said some more things after that and so now before every game I kinda just check to make sure I got my jersey on to this day. And so he taught how to get dressed before a game basically.”
Davis and Bryant were teammates on Team USA that would end up taking home the gold medal. Davis played sparingly on a stacked squad that featured Bryant, but it is clear that the two were able to establish a budding relationship during their time together.
Davis expressed in an Instagram post that the Lakers icon was one of the first people to take him under his wing which shows just how dedicated Bryant was to molding the next generation of players. Davis has flourished since entering the league and Bryant definitely played a role in that.