Kobe Bryant: Lakers Learned of NBA Star's Death as Team Flew Back to Los Angeles

The team that Kobe Bryant played for throughout his entire 20-year career in the NBA, are now revealing that they learned of his tragic death while they were mid-air flying back from the East Coast. It was just after Lakers player LeBron James had surpassed Bryant's record on the all-time scoring list while playing against the Brooklyn Nets, when Dwight Howard announced the news to fellow teammate Anthony Davis. To say the least, the players were in complete disbelief.

"So I remove one of my headphones, and I look," Davis told ESPN after saying he was on his iPad when Lakers center DeMarcus Cousins waved at him. "And Dwight tells me, 'Man, Kobe died.' And me thinking as invincible as Kobe Bryant is, I'm like, 'Kobe who?' Because I'm like, that's not — it's not Kobe Bryant."

"And he was like, 'Kobe.' And I was like, 'OK. Kobe who? I'm not sure who you're talking about,' And he was like, 'Kobe Bryant.' And at this time, Bron is still asleep. So I was like, 'Wait, what? How? Like, I need details, like, tell me.' And he was like, 'Man, helicopter crash.'"

After the former Kentucky player heard the news, he woke up James to let him know, and he too was in disbelief.

"I remember the first thing Bron said to me was, 'Man, y'all stop playin — like, stop playing with me,'" Davis recalled. "And I'm trying to get on the internet. And Dwight, like, you can see him start crying. He was like, 'It's true.'"

According to the outlet, Howard got up to go to the bathroom and cry and telling his teammates, saying he was "extremely hurt" by the devastating news.

Immediately following that, James held a prayer saying it was something that was just "off the cuff."

"It was just off the top of my head, just off the cuff," James explained. "I think it was needed for us to come together and just give thanks to the man above."

"Even though at times we question him and question why he do some of the things that he do, know that he's never made a mistake. And just hope that he has his hands on top of Vanessa [Bryant] and the kids at that time, and hope that he continues to watch over all of us. So, I don't know, it wasn't something I thought about . It was something that just kind of came to me, and I said my piece."


Watch Bryant's memorial here.

Photo credit: Christian Peterson/Getty.