Lamar Odom revealed how heartbroken he was by the death of his former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant. The 40-year-old said the loss of his “brother” was the worst pain he’s felt since the death of his infant son in 2006. “It seems rather surreal. It feels like a long-lasting nightmare,” he told Good Morning Britain on Jan. 28. Throughout the interview, it was clear the former hoops star was still mourning his friend, as he spoke very slowly and didn’t look at the camera, understandably holding back tears. “I haven’t felt a pain or a shock like this since my son passed away in 2006,” he said, referencing his six-month-old son Jayden, who passed away from sudden infant death syndrome. “I’m gonna miss him dearly. His tutelage. His strong will,” Lamar told the interviewers while sitting alongside his fiance Sabrina Parr, 32. “I’m just blessed I was able to rub shoulders with that man, and have a little bit of that magical dust sprinkled off on me.”
Kobe tragically passed away in a Calabasas helicopter crash on Jan. 26, which claimed the lives of all nine passengers, including the basketball legend’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna. An outpour of love for the NBA superstar and his family has been seen on social media from both close friends, and fans all over the world. “I know I’m feeling really bad and his fans are, I can just imagine how his children and wife and his mother and father feel right now,” Lamar said during the GMB interview. The former Lakers big shot also took to Instagram on Jan. 27, sharing a lengthy post as he mourned the loss of his mentor. “He taught me so many things in life that were necessary on and off the court. On the court he taught me how to carve out defenses and how to take my time. How to make winning my ultimate goal. Off the court he taught me to sign my own checks lol,” he wrote.
Lamar, who was previously married to Khloe Kardashian, 35, also admitted that he would have spared his own life to save Kobe’s, referencing his 2015 overdose which led to 12 strokes and six heart attacks while he was in a coma in a Nevada hospital. “No way God took my brother this early. I know I been through my own stuff in life with using drugs and not being good to myself. When I went through that Coma situation if God would have came to me and said we would take me and spare Kobe I would have rather that happened. In honor of my brother I’m up at 4am tomorrow to get to the gym! I love you brother,” he captioned the emotional Instagram post. The pair became close friends throughout their seven seasons playing on the Lakers together from 2004 to 2011, which included several championship victories.
Other NBA stars have also payed tribute to the Lakers legend. Magic Johnson, 60, appeared on the Jan. 28 episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live and told host Jimmy Kimmel, “He was a great husband, great father, incredible basketball player. We both poured our heart and soul into performing every night in Los Angeles for the greatest fans on Earth. We both were committed to basketball…Every night you came to the Staples Center, you knew you were going to see something special, something great, something that you had never seen in your life. And that was Kobe Bryant.” Shaquille O’Neal, 47, who referred to Kobe as his little brother, said, “I haven’t felt a pain that sharp in a while. The fact that we’re not going to be able to joke at his Hall of Fame ceremony, we’re not going to be able to say, ‘Haha I got 5, you got 4’, the fact that we’re not going to be able to say, ‘If we would stay together we could have got 10’, those are the things that you can’t get back.” LeBron James, 35, also spoke out following the loss of his close friend. “I’m Not Ready but here I go,” he began as he took to Instagram. “Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had.” LeBron was just 15 years old when he met Kobe in a youth basketball camp. Throughout their two-decade friendship, the NBA icons never played on the Lakers together, although they both teamed up to represent the United States at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.