Celebs Who Broke Down On Live TV Over Kobe Bryant’s Death

The news of Kobe Bryant’s death shook the
world, leaving basketball fans, former teammates, and fellow celebrities reeling from the sudden
shock. The 41-year-old Bryant and his 13-year-old
daughter, Gianna, were among nine people who died Sunday, January 26, when the helicopter
they were traveling in crashed in mountainous terrain in Calabasas, California. Bryant leaves behind his wife, Vanessa, and
three other daughters. After news of Bryant’s death was made public,
celebrities took to social media to share their sentiments about the retired Los Angeles
Lakers star. Other celebrities reflected on Bryant’s life
as they attended the Grammy Awards, which were held the same day as the crash in the
Staples Center aka “the House that Kobe Built.” “God bless his soul, and his daughter, and
everyone who was on the helicopter. Man, it just makes you think about people
in the world. And we love him.” Details are still emerging, but it’s clear
that countless fans were impacted by this sudden loss of life. In fact, some notable figures broke down on
live television when they spoke about Bryant’s untimely passing. Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon kicked off
his show the night after Kobe Bryant’s death by sharing a personal story about meeting
the pro baller at a party in Los Angeles when he was just 21 and Bryant was 17. They were both rookies in their respective
fields Fallon in standup comedy; Bryant in the NBA. “I said like ‘Hey, what do you do?’ And he goes ‘I play basketball.’ I go, uh, ‘Where?’ He says, ‘For the Lakers.” I go, “Wow.” Fallon revealed that he and Bryant went on
a memorable beer run during the party, and it was Bryant’s basketball credentials that
convinced a salesperson to hook them up with the booze and save the party. Of course, both Fallon and Bryant went on
to wildly successful careers, and Fallon paid tribute to his friend’s legendary record:
Five NBA titles, two Olympic gold medals, 18 All-Star appearances, and the undying respect
of his athletic peers. Fighting back tears, Fallon talked about how
he and Bryant would reflect on that party whenever they ran into each other. “We’d laugh at all the good things that had
happened since, and we’d laugh at how much fun it was to raise kids.” Fallon also expressed his shock at Kobe’s
unexpected death, saying, “Kobe was such a life force, so strong and
creative and inspired that in my head I thought that he was going to live forever,” He closed his monologue with a challenge to
honor Bryant by following the athlete’s example. “Let’s honor Kobe, Gianna, and the other lives
that were lost yesterday by following his example. Love your family, love your teammates, and
outwork everyone else in the gym.” Sports analyst and former Chicago Bulls player
Jay Williams looked back on his relationship with Kobe Bryant on an episode of SportsCenter. Williams was visibly shaken as he spoke about
Bryant’s legacy, noting that it’s easy to lose sight of who people really are in the
fast-paced landscape of press and sports. “His innate character, his being. his spirit… was incredible.” The former point guard went on to talk about
his experience meeting Kobe during his own rookie season in the NBA. Williams said he
was in a slump, and had arrived at the Staples Center early to practice before the game. Kobe was already in there working hard, and
he was still there practicing hard as Williams got ready to leave. According to Williams, Bryant said, “I wanted you to know that no matter how hard
you worked, you weren’t going to outwork me.” Williams urged listeners to treasure every
second of their lives. “There was something so damn uplifting about
him. It just made you want to be better in every
aspect of your life because that’s who he was.” Los Angeles Clippers Coach Doc Rivers had
an especially emotional reaction when he was asked about the death of Kobe Bryant. Rivers, who led the Boston Celtics to an NBA
Championship victory against Bryant’s L.A. Lakers in 2008, was getting ready to coach
a game when asked to share his thoughts. Tears streamed down Rivers’ face as he struggled
for words. “I just don’t have a lot to say. The news is just devastating to everybody
who knew him.” Rivers did find the words to discuss Bryant’s
basketball legacy, calling him a great opponent — the kind of opponent you want in sports. “He had that DNA that very few athletes can
ever have. The Tiger Woods and the Michael Jordans…” Rivers said he and Bryant had talked at length
just weeks before his death, reminiscing about past games, but Williams said Bryant was the
happiest he’d ever seen him as a retired player doing big things for others. The coach closed by discussing Bryant’s lasting
impact on his life. “We’re all Lakers today,” he said. “…Sometimes the more you compete, the more
respect you have for the opponent. I would say that’s the way I felt with Kobe.”

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