The center of Lakers, Dwight Howard, said before Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash on January 26 that he had learned that the NBA legend would join him for the slam dunk competition to help him dive into space -Star weekend to help.
Howard also told reporters that it was "heartbreaking" that he couldn't tell Bryant, with whom he had had a rocky relationship in the past, how important he was to him.
“A lot of people thought that I and Kobe hate each other and things like that. There were times when we just didn't understand each other, ”said Howard after the Lakers' victory over the Spurs on Tuesday night at the Staples Center. "You know, I didn't have a chance to tell him how grateful I was for our time together." And (how) grateful, I should be back here in LA and stuff.
"It was pretty difficult for me. I took Kobe's death pretty hard, ”he added. "My heart is with the family and all affected families and Lakers Nation."
Howard. The 12-point scorer and 11 rebounds on victory also said he appreciated the moments he had with Bryant this season.
"It made a lot of sense," he said. "I only see him. You know, I just never thought he would be gone. And it still doesn't even seem real. "
The death of Bryant, who died at the age of 41, hit Howard particularly hard because he was a contemporary of his.
"It is very difficult for me to put into words how I dealt with the situation," said Howard, who played with Bryant on the Lakers in the 2012/13 season. “I never thought I would see one of my teammates die at such a young age. It hit me hard. I was very hurt.
"All year round, I just wanted to show him that I would do anything to help this team," said Howard. “I've been wearing his shoes since the season started. I wanted him in the dunk contest. You know all of these things. And just to see him go, just like that.
Howard said that Bryant's death had taught the Lakers to be thankful for every day.
"For all of us here, we have to be grateful for the time we have on earth," he said. “We can accept every moment, every body or every matter of course.
"You know, it's just a surreal situation."