Kobe Bryant's Former Coach Says Father Joe Bryant, 'Tight Knit' Family Struggling With Tragic Loss

Understandably, Kobe Bryant's friends and family are still reeling over his untimely death, which occurred on Jan. 26. In an interview with the Daily Mail, published a day after the Lakers legend's passing, Bryant's former coach, Wayne Slappy, opened up about what he, and the Bryant family, are dealing with after the tragic loss of both Kobe and his young daughter Gianna Bryant.

Slappy recounted where he was and what he was doing when he first heard the news about Bryant and Gianna's deaths.

"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," Slappy continued, noting that he was unsure how he was going to get over their deaths himself let alone how the Bryant family would deal with it.

"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 continued. "His family are going to miss him more than you can begin to imagine."

Elsewhere in the interview, Slappy detailed the kind of relationship that Bryant had with his family. He also discussed just how impressive of a person the late NBA icon was both on and off the court.

"I know NBA players whose kids can't stand them, they never spent any time with them. That ain't Kobe," Bryant's former coach told the Daily Mail. "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."


"Plus all the other things he was trying to do to occupy his great intelligence, his ability to speak and express himself and create images that were going to help people. His understanding of basketball's importance was bigger than just basketball," he added. "He was very intelligent, Spanish and Italian. He could talk to you about any subject and have a conversation that was intelligent about it."

The Bryant family recently attended the Celebration of Life memorial held for both Bryant and Gianna on Monday. Bryant's wife, Vanessa Bryant, even took to the stage delivered some moving remarks during the service, which prompted a standing ovation from the thousands who attended the celebration.