SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The news of Kobe Bryant’s tragic death from a helicopter crash hit the Utah Jazz hard.
Quin Snyder coached Bryant as an assistant with the Lakers in 2011, and got emotional talking about the death of one of the all-time greats.
“I think there is an overwhelming sense of loss,” Snyder said fighting back tears at Monday’s practice before the Jazz host Houston. “I’m heartbroken for his family. That was one of the things I kept hearing and taking was his life after basketball, his commitment and love of his family.”
“Everybody reacted differently,” said Donovan Mitchell. “I couldn’t even really just watch basketball. I was going to watch all the games. I couldn’t watch. I just sat there and played X-Box and not think about it at all. It still doesn’t feel real.”
“At the end of the day, I didn’t want to see stuff about that anymore,” added Rudy Gobert. “At the same time, I think it’s great to keep those memories and remember him for all the things he’s done for the game.”
Jazz backup center Ed Davis played with Kobe for a season with the Lakers, and his first thought went to Kobe’s 13-year daughter Gianna.
“Especially me having kids and seeing videos of her,” Davis said. “She was always so happy and smiling. She had so much joy. That’s when it really hit me.”
Of all that he accomplished on the court, Kobe’s legacy is his work ethic and how much time and effort he put into his craft.
“He was all about working hard,” Davis said. “He was always watching film. He used to ask me questions about stuff that happened in practice a week ago. I used to lie and say I remember, but I had no clue. That’s just how he thought.”
“I think every great basketball is obsessed with their craft, obsessed with what they want to do,” said Mitchell. “I’ve always been obsessive about basketball, but I think this is a new level, always try to find way to better themselves.”
“His authenticity was something was so unique,” added Snyder. “He was such a unique human being.”
If there is something to learn from this horrific news, it may be this.
“Just cherish your loved ones,” Mitchell said. “It can happen at any moment. Life is greater than anything.”
The Jazz and Rockets both honored Bryant before Monday’s game by taking a 24-second shot clock violations to start the game in honor of the #24 jersey Bryant wore.