Over the last month, the basketball world has mourned the death of Los Angeles Lakers icon Kobe Bryant. Bryant died in a helicopter crash that took the lives of nine people, including Bryant’s daughter, Gigi.
His death happened the day after LeBron James passed Bryant on the NBA’s all-time scoring list in a game against the Philadelphia 76ers.
How does one mourn?
On a recent episode of the Scoop B Radio Podcast, I checked in with Sacramento Kings scout, Adam Filippi.
Check out a snippet from our Q&A below:
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: How does somebody mourn? There’s a season to play, you’re busy, would you imagine that players mourn through games like, how do you — in your life in basketball what comes close to something like this in season?
Adam Filippi: I was talking about this with some friends, when a celebrity passes away I mean we can remember when Michael Jackson passed away, you know it was similar but it wasn’t as tragic of an ending. You know September 11th was obviously a bigger proportion, but I remember being stunned in front of the television just as I was stunned yesterday. I was stunned, shocked, upset, didn’t know what to do, it was just too surreal. But how do people mourn? I don’t know.
You know it’s one thing that I do understand and people are like “well all these players…” but people don’t understand who Kobe was to most of this new generation. He was their Michael Jordan and he epitomizes greatness and competitiveness, and success and I think everybody wanted to be him but with the one thing that’s coming out in the last two days is how much he gave back. In the sense that he never turned down so many players that reached out to him when he retired and said, ‘hey can you show me this move?’ ‘Hey, can I pick your brain?’
I have known coaches that have done that, I’ve known players that have done that or read about them and he didn’t turn down one person. You know there are a lot of great stars that really didn’t do much for the game after they retired or even when they were still playing. But Kobe REALLY really — I think he liked the mentoring part. Like he did it with Sasha Vujačić, with Jordan Farmar, with other players. I think he enjoys doing that you know up until his death he really enjoyed doing that, being there for younger players.
Like you hear the stories about with Trae Young, about Demar DeRozan, about Giannis you know reaching out to him for advice; you know he was always there for them. I think that is the one thing that right now has come out that I think it is beautiful about his legacy is how much he was giving back to — instead of being competitive and thinking that he was better than everybody else because you know when guys retire they still think they can play. Kobe never talked about that. He was more than willing to help the new guys blossom and come into their own and give them the best advice he could give and that’s a beautiful thing.