Like most in the sports world and beyond, the participants in yesterday’s Pro Bowl were stunned to hear the news about basketball legend Kobe Bryant’s death.
And even after they remembered him on the field, it was hard for some to talk about him.
Via Mark Long of the Associated Press, Packers outside linebacker Za'Darius Smith suggested to players that they could honor Bryant by portraying his fadeaway jumper after big plays. Smith and Lions cornerback Darius Slay and Buccaneers outside linebacker Shaq Barrett did just that after a second quarter sack.
“I don’t even want to talk about it anymore,” Smith said in the locker room after the game. “I don’t want to get emotional.”
Slay, who grew up idolizing the Lakers star, had no problem doing just that.
“It’s heart-wrecking,” Slay said through tears. “There’s not any words you can say. I’m in shock. I just imagine him growing old, being part-owner of the Lakers and having a future son I could cheer for next. It’s just shocking. Me saying the words ‘Kobe’s gone,’ that’s just crazy.”
Bryant, his daughter, and seven others died in a helicopter crash Sunday. Our thoughts are with their families and friends at this time.