One by one, Lakers coach Frank Vogel strolled through the aisles of the team’s chartered jet, gently rustling his napping players to deliver unthinkable news, words that make you question if you’re in fact awake or stuck in an incredible problem.

However he needed to make them understand the awful truth.

Kobe Bryant, as iconic of a Laker as there has actually ever been, was dead. The helicopter he was aboard had crashed. His daughter, Gianna, along with 7 other individuals were with him. Life within the Lakers company would never ever be the very same.

” I wasn’t sure it was real or not,” Danny Green stated. “It’s hard enough for it sink in when you’re large awake, let alone half sleeping.”

For the next three hours, the slowest in numerous of their lives, they would need to stew in the anguish, shell-shocked by news so bad that it was difficult to imagine.

They wished to land, to leave this tube 38,000 feet in the air, then go hug their kids and children. Gamers slumped in disbelief. Coaches pulled away to the bathroom to sob. Support personnel honestly wept.

“I absolutely don’t desire to live out that day again,” LeBron James said almost one year later.

Those hours the Lakers want they could forget but can’t erased what might’ve been an event, a five-game trip where James reached another milestone by passing Bryant on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, a monumental accomplishment while James was still working to seal a place for himself within Lakers fandom.

Bryant praised the achievement, an indication to those fans that it was great to totally embrace their newest superstar, a sign to his former organization that it was proper to celebrate his previous rival.