Oscar winning actor and devoted LA Lakers fan Jack Nicholson voiced his somber remembrance of Kobe Bryant, mourning his passing as ‘just a terrible event.’
Among the legions of fans offering the somber support and eulogies of basketball player Kobe Bryant, Oscar winning actor and LA Lakers fan Jack Nicholson is adding his voice to the chorus. The Terms Of Endearment actor phoned in exclusively to CBSLA’s Jim Hill in the hours following the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Kobe, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven other civilians on Jan. 26. “My reaction is the same as almost all of LA,” Jack shared. “Where we think everything’s solid, there’s a big hole in the wall. I was used to seeing and talking to Kobe that…it kills you. It’s just a terrible event.” Throughout the call, Jack’s voice could be heard trembling as he memorialized the NBA professional in his own words.
But beyond offering some thoughtful words at the loss of Kobe, Jack also reminisced on the first time he met the iconic athlete. “I teased him the first time we met,” Jack recollected. “It was at the Garden in New York and I offered him a basketball and asked him if he wanted me to autograph it for him. He looked at me like I was crazy,” the actor revealed. Above all else, Jack recollected the immense talent Kobe possessed. “I sat right behind his jump shot on the left hand side. I can see him going up and I can tell the first instant if it’s going in,” he continued. Finally, the actor summarized his thoughts, saying, “I remember the totality of how great a player he was…We’ll think of him all the time and we’ll mis him.” You can listen to the audio of the call below.
Jack’s own words come as many fans, sports figures, and celebrities alike share their parting words of the influential basketball player. Among the tributes that have poured in over social media, stars like Kim Kardashian, Jennifer Lopez, and Ayesha Curry have all offered their mournful thoughts and their support to Kobe’s widow, Vanessa Bryant. Another very personal message came when Shareef O’Neal — Shaquille O’Neal‘s 20-year-old son — shared the final message that Kobe sent him the morning of his tragic passing. “Literally this morning you reached out to me,” Shareef shared in his Twitter message. “I love you forever unc…I love you.” The screenshot of the message showed that Kobe had reached out to Shareef to simply ask, “You good fam?” It wasn’t until two hours later that Shareef replied to the last message he would receive from Kobe.
As fans have come to know over the last 36 hours, Kobe, Gianna, and seven other civilians were tragically killed in a helicopter crash near Calabasas the morning of Jan. 26. Kobe and Gianna leave behind wife and mother, Vanessa, 37, and their three other daughters and sisters, Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.