It’s been almost two weeks since the devastating news broke that Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant and seven other passengers were killed in a helicopter crash.
Speaking with reporters on Monday, good friend of Bryant, LeBron James, opened up about how hard the healing process is.
“Every game is going to be emotional,” James said. “But time heals all, and it’s going to continue to help us every game.”
James added that he and his teammates are leaning on each other during this difficult time.
“We’ll continue to lean on each other and lean on our crowd,” he added. “Our crowd is going to be with us. We have to continue to push forward. That’s what he’d want us to do.”
According to USA Today, James revealed that during the NBA All-Star game, his team will honor Bryant’s daughter GiGi, by wearing her No. 2. The decision was made because of his own daughter Zhuri.
While Giannis Antetokounmpo’s team will honor Bryant by wearing No. 24, both teams will honor each victim in the accident by wearing jersey patches that contain nine stars.
Lakers Coach Frank Vogel also expressed how honoring Bryant is bittersweet, because it’s a constant reminder.
“It’s both warming and difficult,” Vogel said. “Obviously, we want to continue to honor Kobe and Gigi forever, not just the rest of the season. But there’s also an element of, ‘It’s going to continue to be hard.’ In those moments, we have to pay homage as well to the visiting team while remaining focused on what we’re trying to do.”
James also opened up following a game last Friday, stating that since his retirement in 2016, Bryant seemed the happiest he’s ever been spending time with his family, despite being one of the most successful professional basketball players there ever was.⠀⠀
“You know, for me,” James said to reporters, “I was telling my wife a couple of days ago, I was like, ‘Seeing Kobe play the game of basketball for 20 years for the Lakers, since he was 18 to 38,’ and I was like, ‘You know what’s crazy,’ these last three years, out of all the success he had, five rings, multiple MVPs at the All-Star Game, MVP of this league, first-team everything, all life, all world, all basketball — I felt like these last three years was the happiest I’ve ever seen him.’”