LeBron James has shared several touching tributes to Kobe Bryant, including speaking to Lakers fans at the Staples Center before the team’s first game following Bryant’s death. But now the NBA star is requesting that reporters stop asking him about Kobe.
“I don’t want to keep going back on it,” James told reporters. “I think it’s unfair and it’s unjust to his family, as they’re trying to move on. We’re all trying to move on — but also know that he’s with us. His jersey is sitting in my locker right now. But it just puts me in a difficult mindset when I continue to harp on it. I’m trying to [stop], if you can respect that.”
The request comes the same week as the celebration of life for Kobe and his daughter Gianna was held at the Staples Center. It’s still unclear if LeBron was at the ceremony, but there were several other former and current NBA stars in attendance.
One of the was Bryant’s former Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal, who spoke at the event.
“To Vanessa and the kids, Kobe’s parents, sisters and the families who lost a loved one on that tragic day, we grieve with you,” Shaw said. “All of us were forever changed on January 26th.
“Mamba, you were taken away from us way too soon. Your next chapter of life was just beginning,” he said. “But now it’s time for us to continue your legacy. You said yourself that everything negative, pressure, challenges is all opportunity for me to rise. So now take the sage advice and now rise from anguish and begin with the healing.
“Just know that we got your back, little brother, I’ll look after things down here, I’ll be sure to teach Natalia, Bianka and baby Capri all your moves,” he continued. “And I promise I will not teach them my free throw techniques.”
“I couldn’t see him as a celebrity, nor as an incredible basketball player. He was my sweet husband and the beautiful father of our children. He was mine. He was my everything,” Vanessa said about Bryant. “… He would do anything for me. I have no idea how I deserved a man that loved and wanted me more than Kobe. He was charismatic, a gentleman. He was loving, adoring and romantic.”
“Gianna Bryant is an amazingly sweet and gentle soul,” Vanessa said. “She was always thoughtful. She always kissed me goodnight and kissed me good morning. There were a few occasions where I was absolutely tired from being up with Bianka and Capri and I thought she had left for school without saying goodbye. I text and say ‘No kiss?’ and Gianna would reply with, ‘Mama, I kissed you but you were asleep and I didn’t want to wake you.’
“She knew how much her morning and evening kisses meant to me. She was so thoughtful to remember to kiss me every day,” she continued. “She was Daddy’s girl but I know she loved her mama. She would always tell me and show me how much she loved me. She was one of my very best friends. She loved faith, she loved putting a smile on everyone’s faces.”