Last night, that meant heaving a half-court shot to end the third quarter rather than holding the ball to protect his shooting percentage.
Lillard sunk the shot, and that made the difference in Portland’s 115-112 win over the Hornets.
Kobe Bryant’s tragic death has Perkins reflecting.
Just wanted to tell you I Love you my brother and whatever I did to hurt you I’m sorry bro and hope you forgive me!!! I love you bro real Talk! @KDTrey5
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) January 26, 2020
My new motto with everything is, What Would Kobe do? He’d want us to focus more on the loss of his daughter. He’d want us to get past differences with our brothers and move on. He’d never want the game to be cancelled or be stopped. He’d want us to keep going! #RIPKOBE🙏🏾🙏🏾🙏🏾
— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) January 27, 2020
Good for Perkins. Amid all the sorrow, Bryant’s death creates an opportunity for people to re-assess their priorities. Grudges almost always aren’t worth it.
Kobe Bryant was a great basketball player. His sport-specific skills – shooting, dribbling, positioning – were incredible.
But his competitiveness and work ethic transcended basketball. Those traits earned him admirers far and wide.
Tennis star Nick Kyrgios wore a Bryant jersey to warm up for the Australian Open:
Nick Kyrgios walked out in Kobe's jersey and is wearing it while warming up pic.twitter.com/7SkSzFoKSi
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) January 27, 2020
After his fourth-round loss to Rafael Nadal, Kyrgios – wearing a different Kobe jersey – shared his perspective on Bryant:
Basketball is practically my life, and I watch it every day, and I’ve been following it for as long as I can remember.
If anything, it motivated me. If you look at the things he stood for and what he wanted to be remembered by, I felt like, if anything, it helped me tonight.
I’m a Celtics fan, and so when I saw Kobe do what he does and break the hearts of so many Celtics fans, it was tough to see. But I don’t think they make them like him anymore. He was different. The way he trained, the way he did things, the way he played was special. It’s just sad.
Kobe Bryant’s shocking death has left millions trying to cope.
For some, questions turn to the technical: How? How did Bryant’s helicopter crash?
“Hold outside Burbank, I have an aircraft,” the recording revealed the tower employee advising Bryant’s helicopter during the communication.
“He’s been holding for about 15 minutes,” a flight tower employee said about Bryant’s helicopter around 9:30 a.m.
The pilot, Ara Zobayan, was told he was flying too close to the ground.
Per audio from before the crash, Zobayan said: “OK, we’ll continue holding.”
As the flight towers try to assist in the helicopter landing, they are cautioned about the “overcast” weather and their low flight level, meaning they were dangerously close to the ground.
“You’re still too low level for flight following at this time,” the flight toward warned the pilot on the audio.
Bryant’s helicopter was reportedly traveling north along the 118 freeway, turned west and followed the 101 freeway. After hitting heavy fog around 9:40 a.m., the helicopter turned south and made a steep climb from 1200 feet to 2000 feet.
Moments later they reportedly flew into the mountain at 1700 feet and the vehicle was traveling at 161 knots.
There’s still more to learn, including whether the helicopter had mechanical issues. Perhaps, we’ll never get that answer. If we do, it won’t change anything.
Still, it feels natural to search for greater understanding of this inexplicable tragedy.
ROME (AP) — In Europe, where Kobe Bryant grew up, the retired NBA star was being remembered for his “Italian qualities.”
“All of the NBA players are important, because they’re legends, but he’s particularly important to us because he knew Italy so well, having lived in several cities here,” Italian basketball federation president Giovanni Petrucci told The Associated Press. “He had a lot of Italian qualities.”
“He spoke Italian very well. He even knew the local slang,” Petrucci added.
Bryant, the 18-time NBA All-Star who won five championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, died Sunday in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, California. He was 41.
Bryant lived in Italy between the ages of 6 and 13 while his father, Joe Bryant, played for several teams in the country before returning to Pennsylvania for high school. Kobe Bryant spoke fluent Italian and often said it would be a “dream” to play in the country.
The dream almost came true when Bryant nearly joined Virtus Bologna in 2011 during an NBA lockout, only for the deal to fall apart.
“He was a supernatural,” Italian coach Ettore Messina, who worked with Bryant as an assistant for the Lakers, told the AP via text message while traveling with his current club, Olimpia Milano.
“To hear him speak and joke in our language and to remember when his father played here and he was a kid drew a lot of people to the NBA,” Messina said. “He was also always very attentive to help Italian kids arriving in the NBA and to help them enter such a tough and competitive world. He also did that with me when I arrived at the Lakers and I’m still very grateful to him for that. It’s very sad that his family has been devastated like this.”
Dating from his time in Italy, Bryant was a lifelong soccer fan.
AC Milan, one of the clubs that Bryant supported, tweeted: “We have no words to express how shocked we are to hear of the tragic passing of one of the greatest sportsmen of all time and Rossonero fan, Kobe Bryant. All our thoughts are with the families of those affected by this tragic accident. You will forever be missed, Kobe.”
The International Olympic Committee noted in a tweet that Bryant was a two-time gold medalist, adding: “Rest In Peace #KobeBryant You will always stay in our hearts.”