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Shaquille O'Neal Shares Most Difficult Part of Coping With Kobe Bryant's Death

Gettyimages | Icon Sportswire
By Lena Mueller

Fans all across the world mourned the death of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant. They were killed in a tragic helicopter crash along with seven others on January 26, 2020. Everyone on board the helicopter was headed to one of Gianna's basketball games at the Mamba Sports Academy in Newbury Park. Here, Kobe Bryant was to be coaching the game. Along with Kobe and Gianna was the pilot, Ara Zobayan, Gianna's teammates Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester, their parents, and assistant basketball coach Christina Mauser.

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Gettyimages | Allen Berezovsky

Fans, friends, and colleagues of the basketball star all reacted to his untimely death, but fans were struck the most by Shaquille O'Neal's reaction. Known as someone who enjoys laughing and joking around, it was unusual to see the basketball moved to tears as he spoke about his "little brother" and how difficult it is to cope with the loss in interviews. Aside from losing someone who was like a brother to him, Shaquille had also recently lost his sister to cancer.

Gettyimages | Kevork Djansezian

Shaquille O'Neal had a recent interview with the New York Times discussing his grief after the death of his friend. It seemed to be another outlet that allowed the basketball star to speak openly about his grief, which is another great coping mechanism. He talked to Marc Stein about how he has been feeling and how the death of his friend impacted him and his family. It's important to remember that no one is alone in their struggles with grief.

Gettyimages | Harry How

But one thing stood out the most in Shaquille's New York Times interview, which was when he told Marc Stein about what the most difficult part of coping with his grief is. Stein had asked Shaquille if going back to work and trying to keep his focus on basketball were the most difficult parts of dealing with Kobe's death. Shaquille responded that no, in fact, the worst part is sleeping. This is when all the thoughts about your lost loved ones rush in and when it can be the most difficult to handle.

Gettyimages | MIKE FIALA

Fans of basketball and the entire basketball community will never forget the legend that was Kobe Bryant and it will take a long time to come to terms with his untimely death. Despite the fact that there had been a feud between Shaquille O'Neal and Kobe Bryant when the former was transferred to Miami Heat, the two formed a strong bond and regarded each other as brothers. They had won three championships together when they both played for the Lakers.

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