02/24/2020 - 14:11
In the previous public funeral in memory of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the other seven victims of the helicopter accident that claimed their lives on Sunday, January 26, it was learned how the current Los Angeles Lakers squad, headed by LeBron James , learned of the tragic news aboard an airplane while returning to California.
ESPN journalist Dave McMenamin rebuilt those tough moments in an article entitled "The longest flight in the history of the Lakers" with testimonies from the same players and technical staff of the franchise for which Bryant played in his 20 years of career.
LeBron James pays tribute to Kobe almost permanently. The night before the death of the former escort, he overcame him on the table of historical scorers and spoke with him by phone. Photo: AP
The first to find out was Alison Bogli, Head of Communications for the team since the late 1990s. He had received a notification on his cell phone. He immediately notified the team coach, Frank Vogel, and contacted the owner and president of the purple and gold team, Jeanie Buss. She confirmed that the first reports were true.
Many of the players rested. Anthony Davis was completely engrossed in "Avengers: Endgame" with his sound-canceling headphones and it wasn't then until DeMarcus Cousins and Dwight Howard, beckoning him, caught his attention. The news had already begun to transcend in the aisles of the plane.
"I take out a hearing aid and Dwight tells me 'old man, Kobe died.' I looked at him like saying 'what Kobe?' Because it was impossible, it couldn't be that it was Kobe Bryant, "the pivot wing acknowledged.
It was he who woke up shaking LeBron James to tell him. The team leader did not leave his astonishment. "Stop playing with me," he told them at first before falling into the harsh reality.
LeBron James gave a speech from the heart the night the Lakers played again: he had one scored, but he threw it and chose to improvise. Photo: DPA
In the midst of the commotion and scrolling of screens in the search to confirm the news, coach Frank Vogel, with the confirmation of the head of Communications, made the decision to go seat by seat explaining to his players that it was true: Kobe had dead and, with him, his 13-year-old daughter and seven other people.
With everyone already annotated, LeBron asked to meet in the center of the plane and led a prayer. "I thought we needed to get together and thank the one above (sic). Even in times where we question him and ask why he does certain things, we must know that he is never wrong. We asked him for Vanessa, the other girls and to keep taking care of us. I didn't think about it. It turned out that way, "Captain Laker explained.
The rest of the flight passed, according to a passenger, in a "suffocating silence." "We just wanted to get there," Davis said. "Arrive and go home with our families."