During Dwayne Wade’s storied NBA career, nearly every time he played against the Lakers, he guarded the late Kobe Bryant. D-Wade’s in tears, mourning the loss of his close friend in a heartbreaking video.
The tragic death of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant has left so many people shaken and in tears, and NBA players are the most heartbroken. Dwyane Wade, 38, played 16 years in the league, all but two of them with the Miami Heat. He’s absolutely devastated by Kobe’s sudden passing at age 41 in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash that also killed his 13-year-old daughter Gianna “Gigi,” and seven others. They were on their way to a basketball tournament at Kobe’s Mamba Athletic Academy in Thousand Oaks, CA, when the chopper went down in foggy conditions. D-Wade shared an emotional video, weeping and sharing memories of his friend.
“Today is one of the saddest days in my lifetime. It seems like a bad dream you just want to wake up from. It’s a nightmare. I know we all feel the same way about such a great leader, such a great person, such a great champion. If you got a chance to know Kobe — to really know Kobe — there ain’t nobody better man,” Dwyane began, wiping tears from his eyes several times.
D-Wade then shared video from a 2016 post-Lakers/Heat game press conference where Kobe was speaking. It was the Lakers star’s final year in the NBA upon in April, 2016 retirement. It showed Dwyane walking behind the reporters and Kobe noticed him and pointed out, “By the way, he knows he’s going to be the oldest guy in the league next year. I love him man,” Kobe told reporters with a hearty smile.
He called Dwyane a “vicious competitor,” and “He’s mean. We can have those types of battles and afterwards, hang out and have a conversation, and lace ’em up and go back at it. I enjoy competing against him. The hardest player I’ve ever had to guard on the screen roll. He’d come off the screen and just disappear,” Kobe told reporters, praising Dwyane’s skills. Then the video went back to a tearful Dwyane.
Dwyane Wade pays tribute to Kobe Bryant pic.twitter.com/JQJSXUzF7Q
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) January 27, 2020
“It’s a sad day, there’s no way around it. My family and I have been sharing Kobe stories. We have so many moments that he’s given us. We’re so thankful for those moments. I’m thankful for those moments, cause he was one of my favorite players and I got to have a relationship. A friendship. And I’m going to miss him. I’m going to miss the friendship,” Dwyane continued, his voice trembling.
“When I came in the league I chased him. That’s who I chased. I wanted to be respected by him. And when I reached that level, I knew I did something. So Kobe, thank you man. Thank you for all the memories. We’ve got a lot of good ones. And these tears we’re crying, we’re going to miss you. And it’s not leaving today, a week from now, a year from now. We will forever, forever miss you man. Thank you for being my friend. I love you,” Dwayne concluded.
While the two were never NBA teammates, they played together on Team USA that won a gold medal at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. In the many games between the Lakers and the Heat, these two became so tight through their long careers as competitors on the court, and pals off of it.