Always on our minds and in our hearts. Kobe Bryant’s friend and former teammate Shaquille O’Neal reminded people “we should celebrate” the late basketball player’s life following Bryant and Gianna’s Celebration of Life event on February 24. “Just again to Kobe’s family … wife is beautiful … shout-out to the Lakers who did a great job at orchestrating the event. It was nice and to the point,” the 47-year-old said on the NBA’s postgame show on TNT.
Even though Bryant is no longer with us, Shaq reminded everyone to continue to think about his legacy post-death. “[We] should not really continue to be sad that he is not here. The world is doing a great job,” he said. “Every time I scroll up, I see videos and pictures of him. So, of course, he won’t ever be forgotten but some of us are definitely suffering a little harder than others, but I think we just need to move on and continue to tell each other great he was.”
Of course, fans couldn’t agree more with the sports analyst. One person wrote, “It’s going to be a while, but I feel [like] Kobe [is] going to remembered forever. His name will always be brought up. He was a legend and legends don’t die. RIP Kobe,” while another echoed, “Man, it still hurts. Kobe was living life to the fullest. Was always rooting for him and his family. Was always curious to see what he was going to do next.”
On Monday, February 24, Shaq spoke about his complicated friendship with Bryant — almost one month after he and seven others died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. “Like all of you, I continue to be devastated by the loss of my friend, my little brother Kobe Bryant and my beautiful niece Gigi,” he began. “As many of you know, Kobe and I had a very complex relationship throughout the years. But unlike another leadership duo, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, whose creative rivalry led to some of the greatest music of all time, Kobe and I pushed one another to play some of the greatest basketball of all time.”
He continued, “And sometimes like immature kids, we argued, we fought, we bantered, we assaulted each other with offhand remarks on the field. Make no mistake, even when folks thought we were on bad terms, when the cameras are turned off, he and I would throw a wink at each other and say, ‘Let’s go whoop some ass.’ We never took it seriously. In truth, Kobe and I always maintained a deep respect and a love for one another.”
Shaq concluded his lengthy speech by explaining to the audience he would look after his three daughters — Natalia, Bianka and Capri — and “teach” them “all your moves.” He added, “Kobe will show his new Mamba moves today, and Gigi will soon master them. Kobe, you’re heaven’s MVP. I love you, my man. ‘Till we meet again. Rest in peace, Kobe.”
This is hardly the first time Shaq has talked about Bryant. On January 26, Shaq posted a photo of Bryant on Instagram, writing, “There are no words to express the pain I’m going through now with this tragic and sad moment of losing my niece Gigi and my friend, my brother, my partner in winning championships, my dude and my homie. I love you, and you will be missed.”
Michael Jordan also was “overcome with emotion” when he talked about the former MVP at the Staples Center. During Michael’s speech, Natalia couldn’t help but shed some tears about her dad. “Vanessa [Bryant] put her arm around Natalia and was gently stroking her arm,” an insider told In Touch.
We are thinking of everyone during this time.
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