Lions Players React to Death of NBA Legend Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant

Getty Kobe Bryant during a game against the Pistons in 2011.

The Detroit Lions, like everyone in the sports community, were stunned with the news of the passing of Kobe Bryant and other passengers in a tragic helicopter crash on Sunday afternoon.

Bryant’s loss floored everyone who loves sports, and as a legendary player, he shaped the future of not just basketball or the NBA, but football players as well. As such, Bryant was loved and revered by plenty of players on the Lions.

In the aftermath of his shocking passing, plenty of Lions players hopped on Twitter and provided their take. The takes ranged from surprise to thanks for all Bryant meant to them.

Here’s a sampling of just a few of the takes following the loss of one of the brightest stars in American sports history:

Detroit cornerback Jamal Agnew referred to Bryant as his idol, and that was not a surprising take following his death. Bryant influenced tons of young people never mind young athletes, and it was nice to see Agnew use the words to refer to him following his loss.

Lions offensive lineman Tyrell Crosby couldn’t believe the news when he read it and heard it, much like everyone else who heard when it was revealed Bryant had passed. The shock, on this day, was palpable no matter whether you were an NFL player or an average person.

Rookie Amani Oruwariye, like most, didn’t want to believe that Bryant was gone. It was a shock to the system to hear the news, and most who heard it likely didn’t want to believe the legend was gone either.

Tight end Isaac Nauta couldn’t believe what he was hearing about Bryant, and wanted to make sure that everyone knew he was thinking of Bryant and praying for him.

Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay played during the Pro Bowl where he enjoyed yet another career day as a leading pass catcher, but afterward, he was more interested in sending love to Bryant. The picture he re-tweeted was particularly fitting as well, given the severe disappointment of the fact that Bryant as well as his daughter perished in the crash.


Darius Slay Shares Tribute to Kobe Bryant

Slay had a deep love of Bryant, and often referred to him as his idol. As such, it was downright sad to watch Slay find out about Bryant’s passing in real time on social media.

Like the others, Slay was completely stunned to learn of Bryant’s passing, calling him “my guy” in a tweet right after he had heard of the tragedy.

Slay then shared a photo of the moment he met Bryant back in 2015, a very special time where the duo came together following Bryant’s last game against the Detroit Pistons.

Slay featured a video in which he is shown warming up wearing Bryant’s number and jersey, proving just what a big fan he was.


Darius Slay Shared Bond With Kobe Bryant

The loss of Bryant touches all these players as well as everyone deeply, but it’s safe to say it might hit Slay the hardest of all. Slay was a fan of Bryant forever, and wore his number routinely growing up. When Bryant came to Detroit to finish out his NBA career, Slay was in attendance and finally got to meet his idol.

ESPN’s Michael Rothstein detailed the chance encounter with a legend in a story, and explained how Slay got to meet with Bryant for a few minutes after the game. It’s something which Slay was clearly excited about. Bryant was also fired up to connect with Slay.

“I’m in a zone right now,” Slay said. “That’s my dawg. That’s my boy, man. It’s great to see him out here, see him play in person, meet him in person, shake his hand. And he was kind of excited about getting my jersey. So it ain’t get no better than that.”

This was the seventh time Slay had watched Bryant play in person. It was the first time he met Bryant — and Slay told Bryant how much of an inspiration he had been. Slay has often talked about how Bryant is his favorite player and how he’s looked up to him.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” Bryant said. “What I enjoy hearing from them is how my mentality or my approach to the game is something that has inspired them. Something that they think of when they’re preparing or they’re training, and it’s inspirational for me as well to hear that from them.”

Safe to say a little part of Bryant will live on with Slay considering how much he was influenced by the legend.

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