Kobe Bryant’s former coach explains how close-knit family are struggling to deal with tragedy


Kobe Bryant’s former coach and best friend of his father, Wayne Slappy, says the NBA star’s family are struggling to deal with a ‘black hole’ left by his death.

In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, the Bryant family friend revealed the moment he heard the Lakers legend had died in a helicopter crash north of Los Angeles on Sunday morning.

‘I was just finishing training kids up in the Pacific Palisades,’ Slappy said. ‘When I got in the car I got the text message. Then I started getting phone call after phone call. I tried to call Jellybean [Kobe’s father Joe Bryant], he didn’t answer, and that doesn’t happen.

‘I just sat in the parking lot at Costco crying for an hour.’Speaking just hours after the crash which killed the 41-year-old father of four, his daughter Gigi and seven others, Slappy said he was struggling to keep his composure.
‘I don’t know how I’m going to get over this myself,’ he said. ‘I’m raw.’
The 67-year-old basketball coach, who has been close friends with Kobe’s father for decades, added that the NBA legend’s family have been left feeling empty.
‘Can you imagine a black hole? It’s empty, how do you fill it? They’re a close-knit family. He was 41 years old, and then his daughter dies in an accident with him too,’ he said.
‘His family are going to miss him more than you can begin to imagine.

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