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Shaquille O’Neal Makes Admission About Friend Kobe Bryant Before L.A. Memorial

Gettyimages | Harry How
By Marisa Roman

Shaquille O’Neal has been through a lot lately—with the loss of his younger sister Ayesha Harrison-Jex in October due to her battle with cancer, and more recently the passing of his beloved friend and teammate Kobe Bryant, this basketball great is admitting to fans he’s feeling it all. Ahead of the “Celebration of Life” memorial at the Staples Center for both Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant, O’Neal admitted to the New York Times that he’s having some difficulty coping with everything.

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In the NY Times piece which was published on Friday O’Neal opened up about his sister and Bryant in a candid way. O’Neal went on to say, “People who know me know I'm hurting. In a million years, I never thought my younger sister would pass before me. And I never thought any of my teammates would go out before me — especially the way Kobe went out.” Losing both a sister and a friend who was seemingly more like a brother in the span of just a few short months of each other is hard to fathom.

Gettyimages | Allen Berezovsky

On January 26, 2020, Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna Bryant, along with seven other passengers, tragically lost their lives in a helicopter crash in the early morning hours. The world is still reacting to the surprise loss of this beloved basketball star and his promising protege who was likely going to change women’s basketball in her own right. A Celebration of Life event is taking place on Monday, February 24, 2020 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles for both Kobe and his daughter to which Shaq is expected to attend.

Gettyimages | Joe Scarnici

Fans have come to Shaq’s side after his admission to the Times noticing that he isn’t his usual happy-go-lucky self, and that likely these losses are weighing heavily on the former basketball star. One fan commented on a Facebook post from saying, “I watch shaq commentate on the basketball the last few weeks... he hast not been the same. He is very stoic and quiet. Not as animated. You can tell he is not in a good place emotionally."

Gettyimages | Bennett Raglin

Another fan come to Shaq’s defense, pointing out that it’s hard to understand just how much Shaq is feeling, as the general public had no idea about the relationship he and Kobe still shared after both retired from professional basketball years ago. The fan stated, “Maybe they talked on the phone we don’t know everything they did in their life. When they are not in tv we don’t know what they do. Stop judging him and let him grieve his way.”

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