Basketball players, basketball fans, parents, adoring kids and so many others are mourning the loss of future Basketball Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash in California.
For WTMJ Bucks insider and Fox Sports Wisconsin analyst Steve Novak, that loss hits each of those levels.
“It’s like I’ve been sad for 20 times for 20 different reasons,” said Novak on WTMJ’s “Wisconsin’s Afternoon News” Monday.
“As a dad, you go ‘Oh my goodness!’ My son comes home today and says, ‘Dad, we were chanting Kobe Bryant today at recess while we were playing kickball.’ “
Then there is the fellow NBA player in Novak who faced Bryant in a career spanning 13 of Kobe’s 20-year NBA career.
“As a competitor, you’re playing against him. You were enamored with the celebrity that he was.”
At another level, there’s the young man Novak was when he looked up to Bryant, and the mental and literal picture the Lakers superstar gave Novak of an embracing young man being present to Steve’s family.
“I remember being at ABCD Adidas Camp in 2000 as a sophomore in high school. Kobe Bryant was there because he was an Adidas guy. My little sister Maggie, who was maybe four or five at the time, was sitting on his lap. We have pictures. I remember drawing a portrait of Kobe when I was in high school,” Novak said.
“There are all those things, and you’re sad for all those reasons, from being a high school kid, to ‘He was nice to my sister,’ to ‘I dreamed of being like him’ to ‘I played against him.’ For so many people, it’s personal on so many levels because he played for 20 years and meant so much to so many basketball fans in so many ways.”
Listen to much more of Novak’s thoughts about Kobe Bryant in our podcast above.