HOUSTON – The world continues to mourn the sudden death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, an athlete that impacted many people’s lives, including that of USWNT star Carli Lloyd’s.
Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were traveling to a youth basketball game with seven other people in a helicopter when it crashed just outside of Los Angeles, California on Sunday morning. There were no survivors.
When the news about Bryant’s death broke, Lloyd and the rest of the U.S. women’s national team were on the bus after finishing practice. They initially brushed it off, thinking that it was some type of prank, that the headlines couldn’t possibly be true.
“It’s hard to wrap your head around it. We found out yesterday on the bus after training and we thought it was a joke,” Lloyd said. “We thought it was fake news. As time went on, more and more sources came out about and it’s just something that you don’t think is real.”
Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers for 20 seasons. He was an MVP, a two-time scoring champion, an 18-time All-Star, an 11-time First Team selection and the winner of five NBA Finals. For two of them, he was named Finals MVP. He is fourth all-time in scoring in NBA history.
Still in disbelief, Lloyd talked about the support the USWNT received from Bryant, a passionate soccer fan and advocate for women’s sports. Lloyd mentioned he went out to support the team last August when they played in L.A.
“He was just doing really good things for the world,” Lloyd said. “He was changing the world, he was inspiring, he was giving back and it almost doesn’t seem fair that someone that was so impactful is gone way too soon.”
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An inspiration on and off the court. Someone who I respected and idolized so much. Thank you Kobe for being you. For teaching us all the concept of hard work and inspiring those around you. Life is fragile and we all must remember this. My heart goes out to his family and friends. ❤️#legend #mambamentality🐍 #kobebryant #legend
Lloyd expressed that she was a fan of the NBA legend and admired his work ethic and perseverance to strive to always be the best, even though he was already seen as one of the greatest.
“You know, someone of his stature, who impacted the lives of so many people and people didn’t even need to watch basketball or be a fan of basketball. He impacted just everybody in the world. He was one of my biggest idols,” Lloyd said. “He was the epitome of a true champion and not because he won all these things and he got all these accolades, it was his mentality and it was outworking the opponents.
“It was knowing that he had a talent, but knowing that he had to outwork everybody and he had to train harder than anybody and that what he did and he earned every bit of it.”
A true inspiration on and off the court. Gone way too soon. ❤️ #KobeBryant
— Carli Lloyd (@CarliLloyd) January 26, 2020