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VIDEO: Lakers’ Jerry West talks about what Kobe Bryant meant to him

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As Los Angeles and the entire NBA and sports community mourned the tragic loss of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, former Los Angeles Lakers general manager Jerry West spoke to ABC about the impact Kobe Bryant had on him personally.

The current Los Angeles Clippers executive became emotional as he recalled the moment he heard of the news, and how he immediately wished it wasn’t true.

My association with him, helping him arrive here in Los Angeles, watching him grow as a player, and being like a surrogate father for him when he was just 17 years old … 20 years career, one of the worst days of my life.

 

Later on in the interview, West could no longer fight back his tears as he spoke highly of the famed shooting guard’s growth throughout an iconic 20-year career in the NBA, and then transitioning to having an enormous career along with a media business. He added how much joy he saw in Bryant’s daughters when they looked at their father, who attended to and supported them fully.

This was a man for all seasons. He was more than an iconic basketball player. He was someone who inspired millions of fans not here in the United States. All over the world.

Kobe was originally drafted by the Charlotte Hornets as No. 13 overall, but West had orchestrated a trade for the 17-year-old. “The Logo” ended up becoming a significant figure in Bryant’s career, even managing to sign eventual Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal, forming a duo that dominated the league and carried the Purple and Gold franchise to three consecutive championships in the early 2000s.