The message Bryant sent O’Neal was brief, but means everything to people who are mourning the loss of the basketball legend. It was sent the morning Bryant died.
Everybody lost something today, an idol, a father, a husband, an uncle, a friend, a teacher…a legend. You’ll never be forgotten Kobe, thanks for the memories. pic.twitter.com/bWtYh7jOkf
— Lucas (@LucasArruda92) January 26, 2020
At 8:19 a.m. on Jan. 26, Bryant was just checking in on Shareef, writing “You good fam?”
Two hours later, Shareef replied: “Yeah! Just been getting this work in trying to figure out my next move,” and, “How you been?”
That was their last correspondence.
“Literally this morning you reached out to me…I love you forever unc…I love you,” Shareef O’Neal later tweeted.
Under O’Neal’s message, @LucasArruda92 wrote: “Everybody lost something today, an idol, a father, a husband, an uncle, a friend, a teacher…a legend. You’ll never be forgotten Kobe, thanks for the memories.”
“Dude this is scary how crazy this all is … checking up on shaqs son hours before he passes? u cant tell me that there isnt a higher power,” wrote @STACKMONEYBALL.
Several people also noted that O’Neal asked Bryant how he was, and got no answer. It was a harsh awakening.
” ‘How you been?’ that one stung,” said @LukeVoitHOF.
Bryant’s memory was felt during the 62nd annual Grammy Awards, which took place the same day as the basketball player’s death. Musician Lizzo helped kick off the event by singing “Because I Love You,” and saying “This is for Kobe.”
Other stars, like Grammys host Alicia Keys, Kim Kardashian, and Jennifer Lopez also offered their condolences to Bryant’s family and friends.
Memorials have been growing ever since news of Bryant’s death broke on Sunday afternoon. Bryant’s daughter, Gianna, 13, was also killed in the helicopter crash, along with seven others.
Bryant, 41, left behind his wife, Vanessa, and three other daughters: Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.
The rest of the victims have all been identified and their names made public: John Altobelli; 56, his wife Keri Altobelli; his daughter Alyssa Altobelli; Sarah Chester; her daughter Payton Chester 13; Christina Mauser; and pilot, Ara Zobayan.
Today CNN is reporting that Bryant’s former helicopter pilot, Kurt Deetz, says the Sikorsky S-76B is a “very reliable” helicopter.
But Deetz also says the luxury is also “very complex” and should be flown by pilots who are experienced.
“There aren’t a lot of people readily qualified to fly it,” Deetz says, adding that Bryant was always cordial with him.
“He was a very private person and you have to respect that. He was very cordial – it was always thumbs up and waves,” he says of Bryant.