‘I am simply not prepared but’

Lakers star Kobe Bryant and Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue trade greetings earlier than a sport in 2016. (Harry How / Getty Photographs)

The collage of pictures Tyronn Lue has of him and Kobe Bryant have been pulled off the partitions of the Clippers coach’s residence in Las Vegas as soon as he realized concerning the dying of a good friend he revered.

Despite the fact that the gathering of images have been from their glory days as teammates with the Lakers, the ache of seeing these photographs every day was an excessive amount of for Lue to bear.

It nonetheless pains Lue to speak about how Bryant, his daughter Gianna and 7 others died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020.

His workplace on the Clippers’ coaching facility is naked, not an image in sight, so on a latest day Clippers assistant basic supervisor Mark Hughes steered to Lue that he put up some pictures.

“Mark Hughes got here within the different day and mentioned, ‘You bought to get one thing in right here.’ I mentioned, ‘Properly, what am I going to place up?’ He mentioned, ‘Simply something. You received a championship with the Lakers and also you received in Cleveland. Kobe,’” Lue mentioned. “I mentioned, ‘I’m not placing Kobe up.’ I do know I received to get previous it the place I can do it. However I can’t come into my workplace and take a look at Kobe daily, man. Like, I simply don’t know the way I’m going to react.”

Lue shared footage of the 2 sitting on the bench collectively in gown garments as a result of they have been out with accidents at first of the 1999-2000 season. Lue additionally shared a photograph of him and Bryant about to trade a high-five throughout a timeout.

There may be a lot pleasure seen between Lue and Bryant from the moments they shared as teammates taking part in on a dominant Lakers squad, from the bond they developed as the 2 of the youngest members from these championship days.

Kobe Bryant, left, and Tyronn Lue catch up after Lue had left the Lakers and eventually landed with the Magic.
Kobe Bryant, left, and Tyronn Lue catch up after Lue had left the Lakers and finally landed with the Magic. (Phelan Ebenhack / Related Press)

But, reliving these moments is just too emotional for Lue.

“In my home in Las Vegas, I’ve footage of me and Kob. I took it down, man,” Lue mentioned. “It’s loopy, I do know, however I simply can’t take a look at it. It places me in a foul place. You take a look at it after which all of the reminiscences with Kob. I received to get higher at it, as a result of the older you get, the extra dying is coming. However I’m simply not prepared but.”

Lue was in Orlando when he received the information about Bryant’s dying.

Lue had woke up from a nap to see that fellow Clippers assistant coach Sam Cassell had referred to as repeatedly and that his “boys from again” residence had additionally been calling , leaving Lue to marvel, “What the hell is up?”

Lue finally referred to as Cassell, who was attempting to confirm the information about Bryant’s helicopter crashing right into a hillside close to Calabasas whereas on his option to a youth basketball sport.

“Man, I dropped my cellphone and I simply sat there on the sting of the mattress and I used to be scared to show the TV on,” Lue mentioned. “As quickly as I turned it on, it was in all places. … I simply couldn’t consider it. I used to be like, ‘No, not Kob.’ As quickly because the helicopter hit the bottom, I anticipated him to stand up and stroll away, you recognize what I imply? That’s simply who he was, from taking pictures two airballs within the playoffs towards Utah [in 1997] to coming again and being a five-time champion and two-time Finals MVP. Like, that’s simply who he’s. He all the time bounces again from something. It doesn’t matter what the scenario, he bounces again.”

With the anniversary of Bryant’s dying on the horizon, there have loads of tributes, one in all which not too long ago caught the eye of Lue.

“They have been simply displaying the highest 10 highlights of Kobe on NBA TV and I turned that so fast,” Lue mentioned. “I used to be at residence. I needed to flip it.”

Lue paused and took a deep breath, his voice on the cellphone reducing because the dialog continued about Bryant.

Because the interview was concluding, Lue began to gather his ideas and determined he would honor Bryant.

“You realize what? After the dialog with you, I’m going to place my footage of Kobe up in my workplace. I’m going to see. I’m going to see how I deal with it. I don’t know,” Lue mentioned. “You bought to have the ability to have fun him as properly. In speaking to a couple folks, they are saying, ‘It’s important to have fun him so he received’t be forgotten.’ He received’t ever be forgotten. They mentioned I may assist stick with it his legacy. I by no means thought of it like that. I would attempt it. It’d carry me some happiness seeing Kob.”

This story initially appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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