Ernie Johnson and the Inside crew helped all of basketball fandom to get through the sudden and tragic death of Kobe Bryant last year.
The death of Kobe Bryant was a blow to countless people across the globe. He was a player who set the bar for all the young guards and forwards coming into the league for over a decade.
Kobe meant a lot to a lot of people who never got the chance to meet him. And he’d play his part as a distant mentor and an idol to the fullest. His work ethic is truly the stuff of legend – Mamba Mentality, as we all call it, has been adapted by a whole generation of All-Stars in the league today.
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His loss, tragic and sudden as it was, affected members of the Inside crew on a very personal level.
Ernie Johnson opens up about the night when Jerry West came on Inside the NBA to reminisce about Kobe Bryant
The esteemed studio host for Inside the NBA was recently on All the Smoke podcast. One of the topics that Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson brought up was the way he handled the aftermath of Kobe’s death ahead of a Lakers game at Staples Center:
“I’ve never been in a show like that in 30 years. It was the most unique show ever, I ever hosted. And it was so unique because it happened on Sunday, we’re in LA Tuesday. And we are in the middle of Staples Center – empty – just to talk about him.”
“Shaq hadn’t even talked to anybody about him at that point. Jerry West was on the show. We just had other voices, right? Rick Fox was on that show and it was one of those days where it just told you that this job we’re doing goes above and beyond what we’re doing, and sometimes can go above and beyond just basketball.”
“Because everybody in the country was kinda coming to grips with it. How do we deal with this? How do we deal with the emotions we’re feeling?”
“And for Shaq just to be sitting there and pour his heart out. Jerry West did the same thing. Chuck, Kenny.”