Kobe Bryant’s sudden and tragic death sent shockwaves through the sports world Sunday. And Shaquille O’Neal was one of many who had a personal connection to the Los Angeles Lakers legend.
Bryant and eight others, including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were killed in a helicopter crash in California. His death led to an outpouring of support from players, teams, fans, coaches and plenty of others.
O’Neal on Tuesday delivered a heartfelt tribute to his fallen friend on TNT’s “Inside the NBA.” The 47-year-old detailed how he was working out with his son and nephew when his other nephew came in crying and revealed the heartbreaking news.
“I didn’t want to believe it. … Everybody called me and then we found out it was confirmed,” O’Neal said, holding back tears. “I haven?t felt a pain that sharp in a while. (I’m) 47 years old. Lost two grandmothers, lost a sarge, lost my sister. And now I lost a little brother. Our names will be attached together for what we did. …
“… We work a lot. And I think a lot of times we take stuff for granted. I don’t talk to you guys (co-hosts Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley and Kenny Smith) as much as I need to. The fact that we’re not going to be able to joke at his Hall of Fame ceremony. We’re not going to be able to say, ‘Ha, I got five (NBA titles), you got four.’ The fact we’re not going to be able to say, ‘If we stayed together we could have got 10.’ Those are the things you can’t get back.”
You can watch the full tribute below:
— NBA on TNT (@NBAonTNT) January 29, 2020
Bryant was 41 when he died.