News of Kobe Bryant’s sudden death shocked the world Jan. 26, especially those who idolized the recently retired NBA legend.
Jayson Tatum took the news particularly hard.
The Boston Celtics forward has modeled himself after the Late Los Angeles Lakers star for years, even practicing with him during the 2018 offseason. Tatum paid tribute to his longtime “hero” in a heartfelt Instagram post the day of the crash that killed Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people in Calabasas, Calif.
Tatum’s father, Justin, watched just how hard the news hit his son.
“I just (saw) his soul leave,” he said in an interview with NBC Sports Boston. “Because he thought he heard some news of Kobe’s passing. We both couldn’t believe it. We were energetic, talking the whole time. When we found out, it was just dead silence … until we found out it was real news.”
Justin said it was “tough” to watch Jayson struggle in the days following Bryant’s death. So, he stuck by his son’s side, telling Jayson to “do what Kobe would like you to do … And that’s become a great player.”
“I was glad I was there to comfort him and just be around him, let him know, Dad is still here, Mom is still here, and knowing that you lost a significant icon in your life,” Justin said.
Now that’s one heck of a father.