Still grieving, Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant spoke with the media on Tuesday about the horrific loss of NBA legend Kobe Bryant. Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other passengers. He was 41.
“It’s still hard to process this,” Durant said. “It’s a tragedy. It’s made so many people in the world so sad.”
"It's hard to keep going right now. But as a basketball community, as a world as a whole, I know we're all just mourning and sticking together when it comes to this."
Kevin Durant's comments today on the life and impact of Kobe Bryant: pic.twitter.com/l5z1YG5oFp
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 28, 2020
Durant entered the league in 2007 and matched up with Bryant 25 times in the regular season as a member of the Seattle SuperSonics and Oklahoma City Thunder. The two superstars battled in two playoff series and served as teammates in the 2012 USA Olympics.
“Having an opportunity to compete against Kobe and be around him in the human space was a joy, and those emotions start coming out at once,” Durant said. “It’s hard to comprehend all of this. Having that time and those moments with Kobe, it was always about pressing forward. And I think at this time it is so hard to do so with just the amount of impact he had on all of us. It is hard to keep going right now. As a basketball community, as the world as a whole, I know we’re just mourning and sticking together when it comes to this.”
Durant’s teammate Spencer Dinwiddie has paid tribute to Bryant by switching from No. 8 — the number Bryant wore his first 10 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers — to No. 26.
As for Durant, he believes honoring Bryant would mean for “every basketball player [to] go out there and play as hard as they can every night.”
Still, considering Bryant’s impact on the game and the legacy he leaves behind, even that seems insufficient to Durant.
“It feels like nothing will ever be big enough to truly honor Kobe Bryant.”