After Kobe Bryant’s shocking death, Lakers legend Jerry West opened up about their close friendship.
West considered Bryant to be a part of his family, telling “Extra’s” Billy Bush, “I feel like I lost a son… 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.”
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 elaborated. "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.”
DailyMail.com has obtained photos of Kobe’s father Joe Bryant stepping outside of the family home in Las Vegas after a bouquet of flowers was delivered.
A neighbor, who asked to remain anonymous, noted that the Joe and Pamela Bryant’s lives have been turned “upside down.” They added, “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.'
Kobe’s sisters Shaya and Sharia also live in Las Vegas. The neighbor revealed, “They were here this morning and yesterday. It's a sensitive time. I can't even imagine what they're going through. They are lovely, kind, decent people.”
On Monday, Joe’s best friend Wayne Slappy told the outlet, “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.”
Kobe and his parents have had a tumultuous relationship over the years, but it appears that they were on better terms at the time of his sudden death.
Wayne recently saw Kobe bond with his dad in Santa Barbara at a basketball camp. He said, “I just remember being with him up at his camp in Santa Barbara and seeing him hug his dad. You know how they loved each other from how they looked at each other, how they smiled.”
He emphasized, “Everybody’s family has issues, disagreements here and there. The healing comes, but this healing is going to be hard because he’s not here.”