Los Angeles Lakers superstar Anthony Davis has acknowledged that the players on the Lakers roster haven't forgotten about the late Kobe Bryant. Bryant, who won five NBA titles with the Lakers, tragically lost his life in a helicopter crash a year ago.
"We still think about it,” Davis said, per Lakers Nation. “It was January 26 of last year when it happened”. The Lakers captured a record-tying 17th NBA Championship last season after beating the Miami Heat 4-2 in the NBA Finals.
Davis, who was traded to the Lakers in the summer of 2019, felt the Purple and Gold were destined to win a championship after what happened. "From that point on we were like, ‘We have a purpose,'” Davis added.
“Ever since the tragedy happened we had a mindset that this is bigger than ourselves. There were so many signs in the bubble that he was there with us. We had a different approach every time we had the jerseys on. I think it was Game 5 against Portland, the score was 24-8.
We had games in the season where there were signs on the scoreboard that Kobe was with us. Me, subconsciously yelling ‘Kobe’ when I made the shot (against the Nuggets). “There’s just a lot of things that happened that we didn’t expect to happen.
It just happened and it showed us it was destined for us to win a championship for him. That was our approach last year and it’s the same approach this year."
Davis recalls his first real Bryant memory
In 2015 January, Bryant was playing through an injury and Davis was impressed by the toughness of the former five-time NBA champion.
Bryant played with his left hand and after the game the tests revealed he tote his right rotator cuff. "I was on the bench, timeout, and he comes back into the game. I’m like, ‘Man, he’s tough. He’s still going to continue to play,'” Davis recalled.
“He comes down the very next play, they throw the ball to him in the post and I think Dante Cunningham was guarding him. He takes two dribbles, does his shimmy and shoots the ball left-handed and it goes in. I just kind of stared at him down the court and looked at the bench.
“I was just amazed that a guy who is right-handed comes in and says, ‘OK, I’m just going to shoot and play left-handed.’ That’s one of my earliest memories in the league of Kobe”.