NBA His friend’s death a blow for the Spaniard
Pau Gasol has revealed his reaction when he received the news of Kobe and Gianna Bryant‘s death one year ago in a helicopter accident.
The two basketball players had a unique bond and were close friends since their joint spell at Los Angeles Lakers where they won together two successive NBA titles in 2009 and 2010.
“You start getting in this trance where you’re completely frozen,” Gasol told ESPN. “You’re just stuck in complete shock. You can’t believe it. I still for days, weeks, I still didn’t want to believe it.
“You still thought that Kobe could have gotten out of that accident on his own feet and carried his daughter — and if there were any other survivors — with him to the hospital.
“We had that perception of him as that strong, as that invincible. If someone could have survived it, it was him.”
Following Kobe‘s death, Gasol and his family decided to stay close to Bryant’s wife Vanessa and their kids. As the Spaniard revealed, they booked a one-way trip to visit Vanessa in California after the accident.
“We just booked a flight [to California],” Gasol added. “We decided we needed to be there and we left. We didn’t know if we were leaving for a week, two weeks or a month, but we needed to be there.
“We wanted to be close to Vanessa and the kids and be there, as Uncle Pau, for whatever they needed. My daughter’s full name is Elisabet Gianna Gasol.
“It’s a way, not just to honour Gianna, but to always have them present.
“They’re our family and in which way can you have them more present than to have it in your daughter’s name or your son’s?”
Gasol went on to discuss about the other part of Kobe, that of a caring and attentive individual.
“Yeah, he’d always say, ‘I don’t have time for friends. I’m too busy achieving, being the best out there or achieving greatness. I don’t have time for the sentimental stuff,'” Gasol continued.
“He would say that publicly, and there was some truth to that. But …
“You could see his toughness, his grit, his desire, his hunger, the Mamba mentality — be the best at all times, work harder than anyone else.
“But he had a very kind, very loving side, too.”