On Tuesday, Novak Djokovic and Maria Sharapova entertained their fans with a fun live chat on social media. The two champions touched on various topics related to tennis and their personal life during this difficult time due to the pandemic.
At one point, one of the fans asked Maria and Novak to remember Kobe Bryant, the legend of the Los Angeles Lakers who tragically died on January 26th due to a helicopter crash. The cause of the crash is still unknown, as the helicopter was not equipped with a black box.
The Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board, and the FBI have launched investigations into the crash. On January 28, Bryant's identity was officially confirmed using fingerprints. The following day, the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner stated that the official cause of death for him and the eight others on the helicopter was blunt force trauma.
“I had that privilege to known Kobe personally in all over the years and have had a relationship with him. He was definitely one of the mentors that I had in life. He was really there for me when I was experiencing an injury and coming back,” Djokovic told Sharapova during their direct.
“I seek for an advice just from people that have been there that understand what you’re going through and he was truly a special person. So all that was a very profound documentary absolutely,” he added. On February 7th, Bryant and his daughter were buried in a private funeral in Pacific View Memorial Park in the Corona del Mar neighborhood of Newport Beach, California.
Their graves were unmarked to protect their privacy. A public memorial service was held on February 24 (2/24, marking both Kobe's and Gianna's jersey numbers) at Staples Center with Jimmy Kimmel hosting. Speakers at the service included Vanessa, Jordan, O'Neal, Diana Taurasi and Geno Auriemma.