The sports world suffered through a tragedy on Sunday when NBA legend Kobe Bryant lost his life in a helicopter crash along with his daughter and multiple other passengers.
As that was playing out, the Baltimore Ravens star players were competing in the 2020 Pro Bowl. In the aftermath of the news being revealed, Lamar Jackson was asked about Bryant’s death and provided a great take. While he had never met Bryant, he was still deeply impacted by the tragedy and understood exactly the right things to say in the moment.
“That’s a legend, man. He did so much for the game of basketball,” Jackson said. “A lot of people looked up to Kobe Bryant including myself. He’s a great player and from what I heard, a great person as well. So my heart and prayers are with his family.”
While Jackson didn’t know Bryant personally, it isn’t hard to see his influence in his classy, thoughtful response amid a horrific day for the sports community.
Jackson would go on to play and put up solid numbers en-route to claiming an MVP award during the game, but thanks to what happened beforehand, all of that felt almost secondary, even for the stars.
Lamar Jackson Offers More Thoughts on Kobe Bryant
After the game, Jackson had time to think about Bryant’s death and offered some excellent takes on the matter.
“Everyone in our locker room was hurt. Some of us don’t know Kobe at all, but in our hearts, he did so much for the game. Not just the game, but everyone. He touched everyone in different ways. It’s hurtful to see something like that happen to a great guy, great player,” he said.
As Jackson said, it was nearly surreal how it happened just prior to the game taking place.
“It was devastating,” he said. “It was like, it’s gotta be fake. We saw TMZ posted it. We were like ‘no, it’s unreal.’ And it’s my first Pro Bowl. You know, God always calls his angels home for a reason. God knows best.”
Mark Ingram Reacts to Kobe Bryant’s Death
Not only was Jackson deeply impacted, but Ravens running back Mark Ingram was as well. Just before coming on to the field, Ingram told the story of being informed of Bryant’s death just before taking the field. As he said, it was a tough circumstance to have to play through in the moment.
“It was devastating, man. It was basically before we came out on the field. It was a downer. It was like you didn’t even want to come and play hearing that news,” Ingram said. “I think it was mutual, when the NFC was walking out everybody was hurt and devastated. When you lose an icon, a great human being, a father, a husband, one of the best ever to play the game. He transformed the game. He transformed the world. Great human, changed many lives. There really are no words. You just pray for the family that they be comforted, all those affected at this time. The world lost a great one. It’s a tragedy, it’s devastating. It hurt really bad.”
In the moment, Ingram said that he felt it hard to focus considering the tough news.
“It was really a downer for both teams. You hear that, someone of that magnitude, someone who was that positive and that much of an influence globally, it was a downer on both teams,” he said. “It was tough for us to come out here and get up for a game hearing that devastating news. It just shoes the respect, the love and how he impacted many lives, people he doesn’t even know.”
In addition to Jackson and Ingram, Ronnie Stanley paid tribute to Bryant with a post on Twitter.
Clearly, the news hit everyone hard.
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