Lakers Superfan Jack Nicholson Calls Kobe Bryant's Death a 'Terrible Event': 'We'll Miss Him'

The NBA legend was traveling in his private helicopter his daughter, Gianna, when it went down

As the world mourns the sudden death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, Lakers superfan Jack Nicholson is celebrating his legacy and recalling their first interactions.

Nicholson, who has been a fixture at L.A. Lakers games for decades, spoke to CBS Los Angeles about Bryant’s tragic accident.

“My reaction is the same as almost all of L.A..,” Nicholson, 82, said. “Where we think everything’s solid, there’s a big hole in the wall. I was used to seeing and talking to Kobe that… it kills you. It’s just a terrible event.”

“I sat right behind his jump shot on the left hand side. I can see him going up and I can tell the first instant if it’s going in,” Nicholson added. “I remember the totality of how great a player he was… We’ll think of him all the time and we’ll miss him.”

The NBA legend, 41, was reportedly traveling in his private helicopter when it went down, according to TMZ. A rep for Bryant also confirmed to TMZ that his daughter Gianna, 13, was killed in the crash that also killed seven other people.

Bryant retired in 2016 with a record-breaking 60 point game, with Nicholson appearing in a goodbye video made for him.

Jack Nicholson and Kobe Bryant
Noel Vasquez/Getty; Rich Fury/Getty

Nicholson also recalled the first time the two met, pulling a fast one on the rising star.

“I teased him the first time we met. It was at the Garden in New York and I offered him a basketball and asked him if he wanted me to autograph it for him. He looked at me like I was crazy,” Nicholson recalled.

Bryant is survived by Vanessa, 37, and three of their four children together: daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.

Since the start of his basketball career, Bryant, the son of former NBA player Joe Bryant, was one of the most accomplished men in the NBA, having played all 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bryant entered the NBA straight out of high school in the 1996 draft, becoming the first guard ever drafted directly out school. During his time in the NBA, he went on to become an 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA team and 12-time All-Defensive team member. In 2008, he was named NBA’s Most Valuable Player. After losing the 2008 NBA Finals, Bryant helped lead the Lakers to championships in both 2009 and 2010, earning him the Finals MVP award.

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