page contentsAs Kobe Bryant Memorial Nears, Shaquille O’Neal Says: ‘I’m Hurting’ – The News Headline

As Kobe Bryant Memorial Nears, Shaquille O’Neal Says: ‘I’m Hurting’

The maths used to be, shall we embrace, daunting for Kobe Bryant’s first trainer with the Los Angeles Lakers. Del Harris had a veteran staff with two long term All-Stars in his backcourt even prior to Bryant arrived in the summertime of 1996.

Harris’s precedence used to be thus making sure that the ones two superstar guards, Nick Van Exel and Eddie Jones, had the room to orbit very easily across the Lakers’ different marquee newcomer coming into the 1996-97 season: Shaquille O’Neal. As supremely professional as Bryant used to be for his age, Harris and the Lakers’ normal supervisor, Jerry West, agreed that discovering mins for the impatient teen can be best possible executed step by step.

Bryant, in fact, didn’t trust that plan. He sought after to begin straight away and used to be now not dissuaded by way of the damage that knocked him out of his complete first coaching camp and preseason as a professional.

“In his exuberance to play, he couldn’t stay up for camp to begin and broke his hand taking part in pickup ball at Venice Seaside,” Harris mentioned. “He used to be so hungry that he would pass and to find puts to play and paintings on his personal.

“He used to be so orientated to being the most productive. Now not handiest the most productive he may well be. The most productive — duration.”

Harris is among the recreation’s important storytellers and my go-to N.B.A. historian. So we naturally spent nearly an hour at the telephone on Thursday evening evaluating notes and stories prematurely of a memorial carrier in Los Angeles on Monday to have a good time the lives of Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the opposite seven sufferers aboard a helicopter that crashed right into a hillside Jan. 26 close to Calabasas, Calif.

N.B.A. commissioner Adam Silver, in an look final Sunday on NBA TV, stated feeling “the heaviness” at each league amassing in Chicago. But he asserted that “there’s something cathartic about coming in combination and with the ability to speak about this stuff.”

O’Neal hopes Silver is true about some great benefits of communal grieving. He and Harris will each attend Monday’s carrier, in conjunction with an array of present and retired luminaries from across the league.

“I’ve by no means observed not anything like this prior to,” O’Neal, the Corridor of Repute center-turned-Turner Sports activities analyst, mentioned final week once we crossed All-Megastar paths. “The entire greats I grew up staring at, I were given to look them develop previous.

“Dr. J is a superb pal of mine,” O’Neal persevered, regarding the mythical former Nets and Philadelphia 76ers highflier Julius Erving. Of Wilt Chamberlain, O’Neal added: “I handiest met Wilt as soon as, however I met him.

“Those are issues,” O’Neal mentioned of Bryant’s surprising demise, “that you just by no means consider taking place.”

Bryant used to be simply four when Harris met him in Houston whilst serving because the final N.B.A. trainer for Kobe’s father, Joe Bryant. For the reason that crash, Harris has discovered himself eating all types of Kobe video photos, from his final recreation at Decrease Merion Top Faculty outdoor of Philadelphia to a communicate display sit-down final November with Kelly Clarkson.

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