On Sunday, the entire world stopped when the news broke that Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash outside the Los Angeles area. And one of the most notable sports figures to pay tribute for the Los Angeles Lakers legend is a former Olympic teammate. Carmelo Anthony, who plays for the Portland Trail Blazers, spoke to reporters after the game against the Indiana Pacers on Sunday evening and he said playing the game was not easy.
"Honestly, knowing him, the way I know him, he would have wanted me to play," a distraught Anthony said to multiple media accounts after scoring 14 points in the 139-129 game. "This probably was the hardest game I ever had to play. "It was tough. It was tough."
"Our friendship and relationship was deeper than basketball," Anthony continued. "It was family. It was friendship. Basketball was the last piece of connective tissue between us two."
Anthony went on to say he heard about the crash from his wife, Lala, and he simply broke down.
"At that point, everything went numb, dark," Anthony said. "Basketball for me was the furthest thing on my mind."
While Anthony was playing, he was seen covering his face because he was upset about Bryant.
"I had to pull myself back in and check back in emotionally," Anthony said. "Because I wasn't there."
"The news is just devastating to everybody who knew him," Rivers said. "He means a lot to me. He was such a great opponent. It's what you want in sports. He had that DNA that very few athletes can ever have," Rivers said. "Looking at my young players and seeing how emotional they are, and they didn't even know him. It just tells you how far his reach was."
"Today is one of the saddest days of my lifetime," Wade began after a 10-second pause to start the clip as he collected his thoughts. "It seems like a bad dream that you just want to wake up from. It's a nightmare. I know we all feeling the same way about such a great leader, a great champion, a great person. If you got a chance to really know Kobe... ain't nobody better."