Kobe Bryant's father Joe Bryant, a former NBA player himself, was seen in public for the first time since his son's death on Sunday. Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant, died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, Sunday morning. Joe was seen outside the Las Vegas home he shares with Bryant's mother, Pamela Bryant.
The Daily Mail published photos of Joe, 65, picking up a bouquet of flowers Monday afternoon.
"I talked to them twice yesterday and took over food and a card, and briefly today, they are just devastated, as you can imagine," a neighbor, who asked to not be identified, told The Daily Mail. "It's a private, awful moment, losing their son and grand-daughter, it's just horrific."
"I was talking to Joe briefly the day before, we were out for a walk, it was all happy and good and talking about the gorgeous weather and then it switched in 24 hours where their lives were turned upside down," the neighbor added.
The neighbor said Joe and Pamela are close to their daughters Sharia and Shaya, who also live in Las Vegas.
"They just need their peace, it's been nonstop since yesterday," the neighbor explained. "They were here this morning and yesterday. It's a sensitive time, I can't even imagine what they're going through. They are lovely, kind, decent people."
Wayne Slappy, Bryant's former coach and a close friend of Joe's, told The Daily Mail the family is dealing with a "black hole" left behind by Bryant's death.
"Can you imagine a black hole? It's empty, how do you fill it?" Slappy explained. "They're a close-knit family. He was 41-years-old, and then his daughter dies in an accident with him too."
"His family are going to miss him more than you can begin to imagine," he continued. "I know NBA players whose kids can't stand them, they never spent any time with them. That ain't Kobe. 'He grew up with his family loving each other. He was doing the same thing his father did for him, for his daughters, to the best of his ability."
Joe played in the NBA from 1975 to 1983, playing for the 76ers, Clippers and Rockets. He played in Europe until his retirement in 1992, then coached in different leagues around the world from 2003 to 2015.0comments
Bryant spent his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, retiring in 2016. He won five NBA Championships and is fourth on the all-time NBA scoring list. He is survived by wife Vanessa and their daughters Natalia, 17; Bianka, 3; and Capri, 7 months.
Photo credit: Chris Covatta/NBAE via Getty Images