LONG BEACH, Calif. (Reuters) – Manny Sandoval, who accustomed at the Los Angeles Lakers as a aggregation accessory in 1996, the aforementioned year as Kobe Bryant, said the afterlife in a helicopter blast of the basketball fable and acquaintance “was like a bite in the stomach”.
FILE PHOTO: Apr 10, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Los Angeles Lakers advanced Kobe Bryant (24) warms up afore the bold amid the Rockets and the Lakers at the Toyota Center. Bryant plays in the aftermost alley bold and additional to aftermost bold of his NBA career. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
“I cried and (was) aloof cerebration about what the hell’s happening. A lot of years that I spent with a being you know, on a game-to-game basis,” Sandoval told Reuters TV.
Sandoval, who formed 22 seasons for the Lakers, said Bryant was a actual assured man absorbed on acceptable the best basketball amateur in the apple even, as a amateur 18-year-old.
“He reared himself about bodies that were bigger than him or were appetite for agnate goals as he was,” said Sandoval in an account at his home in Long Beach, California, assuming memorabilia such as sneakers and a Lakers jersey active by Bryant.
Bryant did not let “strong personalities” like assistant Shaquille O’Neal beacon him from those goals, said Sandoval, whose duties included accouterment towels and drinks to players during games.
“They’re actual agnate and actual able willed,” he said of the two men. “Their ambition was the aforementioned ambition and that was to win championships.”
Bryant won bristles championships in his 20 seasons with the Lakers, backward as the third-leading scorer in the history of the National Basketball Association.
He, his 13-year-old babe Gianna, and seven added bodies were dead back their helicopter airtight into a hillside on Jan. 26.
Sandoval remembered Bryant cogent him they were “brothers for life” afterwards the Lakers won back-to-back championships in 2009 and 2010.
“It’s a allowance that we’re brothers for activity because no one can booty abroad that we’re champions,” Sandoval said Bryant told him and others on the Lakers squad, anecdotic them as “brothers and family.”
Reporting by Norma Galeana; alteration by Bill Tarrant
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