Kobe Bryant's family struggling to cope with his death, says coach: 'They miss him more than you can imagine'
Wayne Slappy, Kobe Bryant's former coach and father's best friend, talks about how the family is still trying to come to terms with Kobe and Gianna's death and the 'black hole' they leave behind
Kobe Bryant's former coach and father's best friend, Wayne Slappy, revealed that the basketball legend's family is struggling to come to terms with the tragedy.
"Can you imagine a black hole? It's empty, how do you fill it? They're a close-knit family. He was 41 years old, and then his daughter dies in an accident with him too," Slappy told Daily Mail.
"His family is going to miss him more than you can begin to imagine. I know NBA players whose kids can't stand them, they never spent any time with them. That ain't Kobe," he said.
"He grew up with his family loving each other. He was doing the same thing his father did for him, for his daughters, to the best of his ability," he continued.
"Plus all the other things he was trying to do to occupy his great intelligence, his ability to speak and express himself and create images that were going to help people. His understanding of basketball's importance was bigger than just basketball," Slappy shared.
Slappy also spoke of the moment he himself learned of the fatal helicopter crash that took the lives of nine people including Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. He shared how he had been finishing up training in the Pacific Palisades and received a text message of the news after getting into the car.
"When I got in the car I got the text message. Then I started getting phone call after phone call. I tried to call Jellybean [Kobe's father Joe Bryant], he didn't answer, and that doesn't happen. I just sat in the parking lot at Costco crying for an hour," Slappy revealed.
"I don't know how I'm going to get over this myself. I'm raw," he added.
He is survived by his 37-year-old wife Vanessa, and their daughters — 17-year-old Natalia, three-year-old Bianka and Capri, who was born in June 2019, and his parents and sisters Sharia and Shaya.