The Los Angeles Lakers paid tribute to Kobe Bryant on Friday night in a number of different ways in their first game back in the Staples Center since his death last Sunday. Before the game, LeBron James addressed the crowd to speak about his friend’s passing.
After the game was over, James and his teammate Anthony Davis address the media in a press conference to talk more about Bryant.
“It’s like the happiest that I’ve ever seen,” James said. “Being able to just be with his daughters, be with his family, because when we’re playing this game of basketball, we give so much to it. It’s my 17th year so I know, you give so much to it that unfortunately, your family comes to the wayside at times, because when you want to be great at something, when you want to be the best at something, you become so driven that you won’t let nothing stand in the way of it. Not even your own family sometimes.”
“We get compared all the time to greatness, we get compared all the time to greatness, and that makes us even more driven, and even more shadowed away from our own family,” James continued. “So that’s, that’s the difficult part that we deal with as professional athletes when you want to be great.”
He said the Bryant also taught him the importance of spending time with your kids whenever you can.
“Don’t feel bad if you happen to go to one of your loved one’s events or something like that, and sacrifice your job,” James explained. “Because I didn’t feel bad in Boston, when I went to go see my son two hours away in Springfield, and we had a game that night, and we got our asses kicked. But I didn’t feel bad at all.”
Kobe’s wife, Vanessa, posted her first public comments about the tragedy on her Instagram account on Wednesday.
“My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time,” Vanessa said, in part. “Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.”
She continued, “We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately. There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved. We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon.”