Along with plenty of other fans, rivals and celebrities, Oscar-winner Jack Nicholson paid tribute to his friend Kobe Bryant after the 41-year-old was killed in a helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others.
Speaking to CBS Los Angeles on Sunday shortly after news of the late NBA star’s death became public, Nicholson – a courtside staple of Los Angeles Lakers’ games at both the Forum and Staples Center, called Bryant’s passing “just a terrible event.”
“My reaction is the same as almost all of LA.,” Nicholson said. “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.”
The 82-year-old revealed that he first met Bryant during an away game and that, as a joke, he asked the 18-time All-Star if he’d like Nicholson’s autograph. He also remembered watching Bryant do his thing on the basketball court at close range.
“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,” Nicholson said. “I remember the totality of how great a player he was. We’ll think of him all the time and we’ll miss him.”
In addition to Nicholson, other prominent figures who honored Bryant after his death included Leonardo DiCaprio, Donald Trump and Barack Obama.
Kobe was truly larger than life, a legend. May he and all those who lost their lives today rest in peace. Love and condolences to his family. LA will never be the same.
— Leonardo DiCaprio (@LeoDiCaprio) January 26, 2020
Kobe Bryant, despite being one of the truly great basketball players of all time, was just getting started in life. He loved his family so much, and had such strong passion for the future. The loss of his beautiful daughter, Gianna, makes this moment even more devastating….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 26, 2020
Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act. To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) January 26, 2020
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