In the days following Kobe Bryant’s shocking death, former Los Angeles exec Jerry West has been sharing memories about their close friendship.
“I feel like I lost a son…,” West tells “Extra’s” Billy Bush. “When we traded for him, he was 17. To watch him grow up and be part of our family for two to three months here, he’d come here and have dinner. My son would drive him around to practice. My son Ryan took him places.”
According to the Extra report, one of Jerry’s sons has been in communication with one of Kobe’s sisters since his death. West shared, “His personal family, is just traumatized and devastated, as any family would be.”
“I think when you have someone who, and every family, everyone’s different, you know, some people have great success and it’s publicized,” he explained. “Some people have great success and no one knows who they are. And here was someone that if you’re a sports fan, if you haven’t watched basketball, you knew who Kobe Bryant was. That was how special he was.”
Following news of Bryant’s death, DailyMail.com obtained photos of Kobe’s father Joe Bryant’s first public appearance outside of the family home in Las Vegas.
An anonymous neighbor told reporters that Joe and Pamela Bryant’s lives have been turned “upside down.”
“I talked to them twice yesterday and took over food and a card, and briefly today. They are just devastated, as you can imagine. It’s a private, awful moment, losing their son and granddaughter; it’s just horrific. I was talking to Joe briefly the day before, we were out for a walk, it was all happy and good and talking about the gorgeous weather, and then it switched in 24 hours where their lives were turned upside down,” the neighbor said.
Earlier this week, Joe’s best friend Wayne Slappy told the Daily Mail, “Can you imagine a black hole? It’s empty. How do you fill it? They’re a close-knit family. He was 41 years old, and then his daughter dies in an accident with him, too.”
“His family are going to miss him more than you can begin to imagine. I know NBA players whose kids can’t stand them, they never spent any time with them. That ain’t Kobe,” Slappy continued. “He grew up with his family loving each other. He was doing the same thing his father did for him, for his daughters, to the best of his ability.”
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