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Marc Gasol surprisingly shuts down Kobe Bryant question nearly one year after tragic death

Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol, Kobe Bryant, Lakers

Nearly one year after the tragic helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others, Los Angeles Lakers center Marc Gasol reluctantly shared a few words about the devastating loss.

Marc, who is one month into his first season in L.A., was asked about Bryant’s passing in his postgame session with reporters after the Lakers win over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday. His brother, Pau, won two titles alongside Bryant with the Lakers in 2009 and 2010.

“I’m really not comfortable talking about it, sorry,” Gasol interjected as a reporter began to broach the topic of Bryant. “Still, to this day, I have never really talked about it. I’m sorry that I cannot give you thoughts or stuff on it.”

The Lakers still break the huddle with a “1-2-3 Mamba” chat in honor of the late legend, a ritual they began doing during their championship season of 2019-20.

“He will always be a part of, not only the team, but the franchise, the city,” Gasol said. “For each player … it’s very emotional.  He was obviously someone that we looked up to. Sorry. Sorry I could not give you a better answer.”

Before the Lakers win over the Chicago Bulls on Saturday, head coach Frank Vogel said the team still feels Bryant’s presence every day and would stick with the chant for the time being.

Harrison Faigen of Silver Screen & Roll shared a video of Kobe Bryant playfully imploring a younger Marc Gasol to “hang in there for a couple of years. Then come over” to the Lakers.

Marc did speak on Bryant’s incomprehensible death on the day it took place last year, after Gasol’s Toronto Raptors played through tears in a game vs. the San Antonio Spurs.

“Obviously, we were all in shock,” he said to Raptors media in the locker room after the game. “Not wanting to believe the stuff we were reading … everyone was just trying to find confirmation because no one wanted to believe what was going on. … You can imagine how hard it is to do your job at that point because you’re not thinking about work, you’re not thinking about profession, you’re not thinking about points or anything like that. You’re thinking about life and what’s really important. The bare necessities for you as a human being, and how fragile and how all that can be gone, in a split second. … You think about his family and his friends and the situation that they’re going through. You just want to go home and kiss your kids and your wife.”

Gasol was asked about special interactions he had with Kobe Bryant over the years.

“Many many of them, but I don’t think its time to talk about those right now. We are all in shock. We should cherish how lucky we are sometimes. We get so deep in our jobs and our profession about contracts, points, minutes,all-stars whatever,r that you kind of forget what really important in life. And how it can all be gone in an accident. I just want to be home and kiss my kids.”

Bryant clearly had immense respect for Marc’s game. In 2014, when asked why it was so hard to guard the younger Gasol, Bryant gave a perfectly succinct answer. “He’s a bad boy.”

Of course, Bryant was a great admirer of Pau, on- and off-the-floor. The two developed a deep relationship during and after their memorable stint as teammates from 2007-14 and bonded over their worldliness and basketball IQ.

In May, Pau spoke to ClutchPoints about Bryant’s impact on his life.

“To me, he was kind of the big brother that I never had. A person that I could count on, that I could rely on. That I could reach out, and we could talk, and we would just enjoy it … Enjoy talking about life, talking about decisions, talking about personal stuff. How I would kind of teach their daughters the culture and the arts and stuff like that, and how he would help my kids.

“It was two very close people that appreciated each other being close and being human. That’s kind of what he meant to me.”

Since last January’s tragedy, Pau Gasol has acted as a de facto uncle to Kobe Bryant’s daughters. In September, he named his newborn daughter Elisabet Gianna Gasol in a tribute to Gianna Bryant.