LOS ANGELES — Tyronn Lue put away all of the framed images he had of himself and Kobe Bryant in his dwelling and the LA Clippers‘ coach nonetheless is unable to get himself to embellish his workplace with cherished moments he shared together with his outdated good friend.
Practically a yr after Bryant died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020, Lue nonetheless is dealing with the dying of his former Los Angeles Lakers teammate. Seeing highlights of Bryant on TV and even fielding questions from Kawhi Leonard and Paul George about what Bryant was like continues to be painful.
Speaking to a small group of reporters on Saturday, Lue opened up about Bryant’s dying and revealed that he has tried coping by blocking out as a lot as he can. However Lue stated he needs to attempt to begin shifting ahead by doing issues like placing up photos of him and Bryant.
“Simply with the ability to attempt to get previous it,” Lue stated. “I do not actually cope with dying nicely. I at all times attempt to overlook about it. It’s simply one thing that’s robust for me, particularly [with] somebody I used to be so near… I took down all the photographs in my room, in my home, I haven’t got them in my workplace.”
Lue stated that when he moved into the top coach’s workplace on the Clippers’ facility in Playa Vista, he was requested by his assistant and others about adorning and whether or not he wished an image of himself and Bryant. Lue politely stated no.
“I acquired to recover from it as a result of [he’s] such an ideal man, nice individual, you need to have the ability to have a good time him,” Lue stated. “You need individuals to come back in your workplace and say, ‘Oh man, how was it with Kobe?’ You need them to ask these questions so he can proceed to stay on, which he’s going to do.”
When Bryant and his daughter Gianna died final yr, the Clippers had been in Orlando, Florida, to play the Magic. Lue, then an assistant coach on Doc Rivers’ workers, stated he awoke from his routine game-day nap to seek out numerous textual content messages and missed calls on his cellphone. Seven of the missed calls had been from fellow assistant coach Sam Cassell. Lue known as Cassell, who frantically requested if the information was true, that Bryant had died in a crash. Lue was in shock.
“I turned the TV on and it was all around the information stations and it simply sort of had the fireplace, the fumes, simply displaying photos of that [helicopter crash],” Lue stated. “And on TMZ Sports activities, they had been speaking about it and I simply broke down. It was onerous, to fathom that, onerous to see it.”
Rivers stated at one level through the sport in opposition to the Magic, he turned to have a look at Lue on the bench and noticed his assistant “bawling.”
“Nonetheless to at the present time, simply robust,” Lue stated. “Whenever you look and simply watch clips when they’re displaying stuff from outdated video games or commercials, it’s simply robust for me to see.”
Lue additionally stated that his two stars, Leonard and George, ask about Bryant usually. Leonard and George each grew up in Southern California, trying as much as Bryant. The 2 All-Stars acquired to know Bryant as professionals and tried to take in as a lot information as they might from the previous Lakers nice.
Lue stated he did not discuss his time with Bryant or issues he discovered from the capturing guard whereas he was head coach of the Cleveland Cavaliers. However this season, Lue has discovered himself sharing perception to Bryant’s greatness with Leonard and George.
“They at all times need to understand how Kobe was, what he did, how he labored, how would Kobe react to this,” Lue stated. “They at all times ask these questions on a regular basis. They only need to know a lot about him. It is robust typically speaking about it nevertheless it’s good that these guys respect him and look as much as what Kobe has achieved as a participant, an individual and a businessman.”
Lue spent his first three NBA seasons as a participant from 1998 to 2001 on the Lakers with Bryant. After the Lakers beat the Philadelphia 76ers within the NBA Finals in 2000-2001, Bryant stated one thing that can stick with Lue for the remainder of his life.
“Kobe stated, ‘, I do not know if we’d have been capable of win that sequence with out you,'” Lue recalled. “He stated, ‘as a result of I used to be getting worn out having to protect [Allen] Iverson, and the job you probably did on him actually took a number of stress off me. So man, you simply meant a lot to this championship.'”
“It actually meant loads whether or not he was mendacity or not,” Lue stated.
Lue stated he’s going to have to start out being trustworthy with himself by confronting the lack of Bryant as a substitute of attempting to bury it. One step ahead is to place these photos up once more.
“I’m going to simply attempt to do it,” Lue stated. “He’s at all times going to stay via me, via the NBA, via lots of people. So simply attempt to come to my workplace and seeing an image of me and Kobe I feel could be robust.
“However there’s acquired to be a degree the place I acquired to get via that, proceed to have a good time his life and what he has meant to me and so many different individuals.”