Lakers Uberfan Jack Nicholson Shares First Memory of Kobe Bryant

Jack Nicholson

getty Actor Jack Nicholson cheers before Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant.

Lakers superfan and Oscar winner, Jack Nicholson spoke to CBS Los Angeles about late friend Kobe Bryant who was tragically killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday.


There’s a Hole in the Wall

“My reaction is the same as almost all of L.A., where we think everything’s solid, there’s a big hole in the wall,” Nicholson said.

Nicholson said what he remembers most “in totality” is how great of a player Kobe was.

But something he’ll never forget is when he first met Kobe, “I teased him. It was at the Garden in New York and I offered him a basketball and asked him if he wanted me to autograph it for him. He looked at me like I was crazy.”

Nicholson confirmed that Kobe had a great sense of humor just like himself and that he didn’t miss a joke.

For years Nicholson sat right behind Kobe’s jump shot on the left-hand side at the Staples Center, “I could see him going up, and I could tell the first instance if it was in.”

The 82-year-old beloved actor was asked by CBS what he would tell others how they should remember Kobe Bryant:

“I’m not a guy who tells people what to do, but I can tell you that I’ll remember him. For example, when I first talked to him after that first meeting, he called me onto the floor and said, “Jack I know you’re not going to want to do this, but they made me ask you.” Nicholson went onto say they were doing a documentary and Kobe asking in that particular way it spoke to his sensitivity knowing Nicholson doesn’t do TV interviews.

Nicholson ended the interview speaking for everybody, “We’ll think of him all the time and we miss him. He was just one of those touched people.”

Nine Victims of the Crash

The same crash that took the lives of the NBA legend, took the lives of eight other extraordinary people as well.

On Sunday morning, Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, a college baseball coach with his wife and daughter, a girls basketball coach, a teammate and mom, and an experienced pilot took off in a private helicopter to attend a girl’s basketball tournament at the Mamba Sports Academy but never made it.

Kobe Bryant, 41- An NBA MVP who had a 20-year career with the Lakers.
Gianna Bryant, 13- Kobe’s daughter who was said to be the future of the WNBA.
John Altobelli, 56; Keri Altobelli; Alyssa Altobelli– Longtime college baseball coach at Orange Coast College and wife Keri were aboard the plane with their daughter Alyssa, who played for the same club as Gianna.
Christina Mauser, 38- The assistant coach of the Mamba girls’ basketball team that Kobe hand-selected. 

Sarah and Payton Chester– A mother and daughter who were also on the flight to the Mamba Sports Academy. Payton was Gianna’s teammate and friend.   

Ara Zobayan, 50 – An experienced pilot who was flying the helicopter for the company that owned it when it crashed in Calabasas.  He was an excellent pilot who taught many others, sources say.

READ NEXT: O’Shea Jackson Jr Pours His Heart out in Letter to Lakers’ Kobe Bryant

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