More than a year-and-a-half has passed and the basketball world is still at a loss for words after the tragic passing of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
The NBA and its players have done their best to keep Bryant’s spirit and memory alive, with Kevin Durant and Team USA even honoring him during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. The Lakers icon was beloved by everyone in the league and he would be proud to see how they have competed since the accident occurred.
The days following Bryant’s death were a whirlwind of emotions as people tried to make sense of the event and process what happened. In an appearance on the “All The Smoke” podcast, TNT’s Ernie Johnson recalled what it was like hosting Inside the NBA just two days after the accident:
“I’ve never been in a show like that in 31 years,” Johnson said. “It was the most unique show ever hosted and because it was so fresh…it happened Sunday, we’re in L.A. Tuesday and we are in the middle of Staples Center. Empty. Just to talk about it. Shaq hadn’t even talked to anybody about it at that point. Jerry West is on the show. We just had other voices, I think Rick Fox was on that show at some point.
“It was one of those days where it just told you that this job we’re doing can sometimes go above and beyond being just a basketball show.”
Inside the NBA is known for its mix of basketball analysis and humor, but that show was surreal as the panel including Johnson sat inside an empty Staples Center to discuss the tragedy. Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Jerry West and others talked about their memories of Bryant and how he impacted them, while also sorting through their own feelings.
In Johnson’s sit down on the podcast, he also talked about his favorite memory with Bryant, which was an interview he conducted during the Lakers star’s final season. Bryant was the rare player who would thoughtfully answer any question thrown his way, making for a much better experience for Johnson and others like him. Johnson also revealed that Bryant appeared in a video welcoming him back after he had finished chemotherapy.
One can not understate the effect and impact Bryant had on others and this Johnson interview only reaffirmed that fact.
Bosh reveals lessons learned from Bryant
Even during his Hall of Fame speech, former NBA great Chris Bosh had Bryant on his mind as he spoke about the lessons he learned playing with and against the Lakers legend.
It seems like every player has some sort of awesome story about Bryant from their playing career, which just goes to show the impact he made on so many people.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!