It has been nearly a month since the passing of Kobe Bryant, but the Los Angeles Lakers and the rest of the basketball world are still mourning the loss.
Since the tragic accident that cost him, his daughter Gianna Bryant, and seven other passengers’ lives, countless memorials and fundraisers have been raised to honor and celebrate them.
Fans gathered at Staples Center and the Lakers practice facility to pay their respects while others chose to donate and contribute to campaigns like the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation.
“People who know me know I’m hurting,” O’Neal said. “In a million years, I never thought my younger sister would pass before me. And I never thought any of my teammates would go out before me — especially the way Kobe went out.”
O’Neal also admitted he wished he had stayed more in contact with Bryant:
“He was good at always looking out for my boys, telling them to come work out at the Mamba gym, but I wish I would have communicated with him more,” O’Neal said. “People in our lives, if we think about them, we should communicate a little bit more.”
O’Neal previously talked about the pain he was feeling after news broke of Bryant’s death, but he and everyone else are still clearly grieving and trying to move on from such a shocking and horrible accident. O’Neal and Bryant were able to repair their relationship in recent years, but it is still surreal to consider that the latter is truly gone.
O’Neal and Bryant will forever be linked because the two Lakers legends formed arguably the NBA’s greatest duo. The tandem is the last one to lead a franchise to a three-peat, something that is an astonishing feat when considering some of the recent super teams that were formed in past seasons.
The public memorial that is set to take place at Staples Center will be another opportunity for O’Neal and fans to pay their respects to Bryant. Although he is gone, his lasting impact on the world will be felt for years to come and that is something to celebrate.