Dwight Howard is reflecting on his relationship with Kobe Bryant before the NBA icon's untimely death last month alongside 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other victims in a helicopter crash. The Los Angeles Lakers player revealed during a conversation with reporters Wednesday that upon learning the devastating news, he excused himself to the bathroom to cry, and that over the last week, he has cried himself to sleep more than once.
"It just makes you realize that we all we got," Howard said, as per The LA Times. "It doesn't matter what you have, it doesn't matter who you are, we are all we got. And love each other while we're here on Earth, treat each other the right way, respect each other and never have any hatred or animosity towards anybody because you never know what could happen to him."
While Bryant and Howard had a complicated relationship as teammates over the years, Howard said he truly values all he learned from the legend over the years. His biggest regret, he revealed, was not being able to express that to Bryant ahead of his death.
"I really wanted to tell him how much I appreciate everything he's done, all the things he's said," Howard said. "Even at the time that we were on the same team, we didn't understand each other. But I saw a different Kobe and I even saw a change in myself. And I'm pretty sure he saw it. I just wanted to be able to tell him how I felt about him and I never got the chance."
"That was really the most heartbreaking part. Every day it's been on my mind," he continued.
There's been a lot of emotion surrounding Bryant's death for Howard, he revealed.
"I probably cried as hard as I have in a while, the death of Kobe," he said. "It wasn't because we were close, close friends, it's just like, man, I just never thought that it'd be Kobe."
Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna died on Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash that killed seven others on their way to the Mamba Academy. The crash was officially ruled an accident, though investigators continue to search for the cause of the crash. The NTSB revealed that the aircraft was not equipped with safety equipment that has become standard in the industry.
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