In his social media update, Odom, 40, posted several photos of the longtime pals together from their time together on the Los Angeles Lakers. Odom regarded the snaps of the duo as the “ tip of the iceberg of our relationship” and opened up about how much he’s learned from Bryant.
“He taught me so many things in life that were necessary on and off the court. On the court, he taught me how to carve out defenses and how to take my time. How to make winning my ultimate goal,” the Khloé & Lamar alum wrote on Sunday. “Off the court, he taught me to sign my own checks lol. Of course anyone who knows my story knows I’ve suffered a lot of loss but the only loss I can compare this to is when I lost my son. Even though our relationship wasn’t father/son, it was more like him being a teacher and me being his brother.”
Odom continued, “I’m glad I got to be the ying to your yang as far as the locker room was concerned. It was my pleasure. I couldn’t even catch my breath today when I heard this news. I just knew if he was in a helicopter crash, he would have been the one to survive. Somehow he would have jumped out and landed on his feet. I’m sitting here thinking about when we would be in practice scrimmaging and you would start the jump ball off with elbowing Sasha [Vujačić] in the chest. Like dude, it’s 10:30 in the morning lol.”
The New York native briefly touched on his ups and downs with substance abuse and referenced his near-fatal overdose in 2015. Odom said that he would have taken Bryant’s place if he knew that his pal would die on Sunday.
“No way God took my brother this early,” the retired athlete wrote. “I know I been through my own stuff in life with using drugs and not being good to myself. When I went through that Coma situation if God would have came to me and said we would take me and spare Kobe I would have rather that happened. In honor of my brother I’m up at 4am tomorrow to get to the gym!”
He concluded by giving a quick shoutout to Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, who also died alongside her father, writing: “Gigi gone give you buckets!!!! I love you brother 💔🙏🏿😥 @kobebryant.”
On Sunday, authorities confirmed that Bryant and his daughter were among nine people who died in Calabasas, California. The group were traveling in his private helicopter when a fire broke out, causing the rotorcraft to crash. Bryant was 41.
KTLA reported that the late athlete’s helicopter crashed on a hillside in the Calabasas neighborhood, which caused it to burst into flames. Fans gathered outside of Los Angeles’ Staples Center, where Bryant played as part of the Lakers, to pay tribute to the former star. (The Staples Center is also the location of the 62nd annual Grammy Awards on Sunday.)
Bryant shared daughters Natalia, 17, Gigi, 13, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months, with wife Vanessa Laine Bryant. Kobe, who wed Vanessa, 37, in 2001, had a 20-year career with the Lakers, which he began directly after he wrapped high school in 1996.
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