The world lost nine souls on Sunday when a helicopter crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, California. But the NBA, in particular, lost an icon and a budding star when Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna “GiGi” Bryant, perished in the accident. Kobe, 41, and GiGi, 13, were doing what they loved: flying with friends and teammates to participate in youth basketball games at the MAMBA Sports Academy in Newbury Park.
The tragic news has sent shock waves through the basketball world. The Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers postponed what was supposed to be their latest meeting at Staples Center. Teams around the league have paid tribute to the Black Mamba with shot-clock and backcourt violations, in addition to moving tributes of their own. Some players, like Spencer Dinwiddie and Terrence Ross, are voluntarily retiring their own No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys, while others, like Joel Embiid, have temporarily sported Kobe’s numbers to honor him.
The NBA on TNT crew held its own moving remembrance on Tuesday, with Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Ernie Johnson sharing stories alongside the likes of Dwyane Wade, Jerry West, Steve Nash, Candace Parker, Derek Fisher and Rick Fox.
On this week’s episode of Hollywood Hoops, Eric Pincus and Josh Martin do their part to reflect on the passing of Kobe, GiGi and their friends while offering poignant memories of the Mamba. Eric comes to the discussion as someone who not only covered Kobe for years on the Lakers’ beat, but also connected with the soon-to-be Hall of Famer over raising daughters (and teaching them the game). Josh, meanwhile, offers his thoughts as a young Southern California sports fan who grew up to cover the league he had long followed, with opportunities to speak to and hear from Kobe as his hoops career wound down and his life as a businessman, storyteller and full-time dad began.
00:00 – Reaction to Kobe and GiGi’s Passing
15:13 – More Reflections on the Kobe News
35:14 – Memories of Kobe
46:37 – More Mamba Memories