Video captures the moment Tiger Woods discovers Los Angeles Lakers and NBA legend Kobe Bryant died in a
The tragedy hadn’t really sunk in when Tiger Woods was asked about the death of his friend Kobe Bryant.
As he walked off the green at Torrey Pines, a shocked Woods can be heard replying to his caddie Joe LaCava ‘excuse me’ when informed about the helicopter crash that not only took the life of the NBA legend, but that of eight other people, including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
“I didn’t know until Joey just told me coming off the 18th green,” Woods told CBS Sports after the round.
“I didn’t understand why people in the gallery were saying, ‘Do it for Mamba.’ Now I understand. It’s a shocker to everyone. I’m unbelievably sad, and it’s one of the more tragic days. The reality is setting in because I was just told about five minutes ago.
“Life is very fragile as we all know,” added Woods. “You can be gone at any given time and we have to appreciate the moments that we have. I just can’t imagine what his family’s going through right now.”
The 44-year-old – a Californian-native and Los Angeles Lakers fan – watched Bryant rule his own sport for 20 years. He was a five-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist and has since had his two shirts – eight and 24 -retired by the Lakers.
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At the Grammy awards, in Los Angeles’ Staples Centre, lights illuminated Bryant’s Lakers shirts
“[I’ll remember] the fire. He burned so competitively hot,” Woods said.
“The desire to win. He brought it each and every night on both ends of the floor. Not too many guys can say that throughout NBA history.
“He’d lock up on D. He was obviously dominant on the offensive side, but anytime he was in the game, he’d take on their best player and shut him down for all 48 minutes. That was one of the more impressive things throughout his entire career. And then when he ruptured his Achilles and went to the foul line and made his shots, that’s tough.”
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Woods and Bryant dominated their sports, having broken through at the same time in 1996 – the year Woods turned pro and Bryant was drafted
Sportsmen and women from around the world also paid tribute to Bryant, while at the Grammy awards in Los Angeles’ Staples Centre, Alicia Keys spoke emotionally saying: “We’re standing here, heartbroken, in the house that Kobe Bryant built,” while a spotlight illuminated his Lakers jerseys.
Meanwhile, in the NBA Sunday games, teams made touching gestures on the court by letting the shot clock expire for 24-second violations on each of their first possessions, which received applause from the crowd.
The Raptors and Spurs both took 24-second violations at the start of their game in honor of No. 24, Kobe Bryant.
In Australia, teen sensation Coco Gauff wrote a tribute on her trainers which was seen during her Australian Open doubles match and Nick Kyrgios warmed up in a Bryant jersey ahead of his match against Rafa Nadal.
Former footballer David Beckham, who broke through at Manchester United in the mid-90s also paid a heartfelt tribute to his fellow athlete.
Posting on Instagram, Beckham posted a number of pictures and explained it had taken him a while to decide the best way to honour Bryant.
“It’s taken me hours to work out what to write and still my words won’t ever be enough to describe how I am feeling after the tragic loss of Kobe.
“This was one special athlete, husband, father and friend. Having to write these words is hard enough but also knowing we have lost an amazing human being and his beautiful and talented daughter Gianna is heartbreaking.
“The commitment Kobe showed to his sport was inspiring, to go through the pain and to finish a game off like only he could inspired me to try to be better. Sometimes I would only go to games just to watch that clock go down to the last 2:00 minutes knowing that we were about to witness something special.
“Kobe always talked about Vanessa and his beautiful girls and how proud he was of them. Kobe’s passion was his family and basketball. He was determined to inspire the next generation of boys and girls to embrace the sport that he loved. His legacy will live on. My family’s love and prayers go out to Vanessa and the girls, to Kobe’s basketball family, and of course to the families of those who were tragically lost with him yesterday.”