As hard as it is to believe, Wednesday will be the two-year anniversary of Kobe Bryant’s death.
Time truly does fly, as Jason Kidd said before Sunday’s game against Memphis. Especially when the two years since then have changed virtually every aspect of life.
Just about everybody associated with the NBA can remember where they were on Jan. 26, 2020, when Bryant and his daughter, Gigi, died in a helicopter accident.
For Kidd, it will always bring back a flood of memories. He was an assistant coach under Frank Vogel in that season that would be suspended six weeks later because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Lakers would go on to win the championship in the bubble seven months after the league stopped play in the regular season.
Kidd took time to Sunday to relate a couple of stories that stick out about his friend, hall of famer and Lakers’ legend.
“Favorite moment with Kobe? The Olympic team, there’s a lot of stories. We’d be here too long,” Kidd said. “But there was a point that we all went to a driving range and we actually found something that Kobe wasn’t very good at.
“He didn’t know if he was right-handed or left-handed. But he would say if he had time to work on it he could do either way, right or left. That’s something I’ll never forget.”
That was right in line with the confidence and perseverance that made Bryant one of the best players in NBA history.
And the Lakers, led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, dedicated that year’s championship to Bryant’s memory.
Said Kidd: “For that team to dedicate that season to Kobe, to win a championship that year, for that team to go through everything it went through with COVID and Kobe, that’s just who LeBron and AD and Frank Vogel are as leaders was to find a way to win a championship.”
Luka’s pain in the neck: Luka Dončić went through practice on Saturday and played with no limitations on Sunday against the Grizzlies.
Well, with only a few limitations. Dončić was heavily taped on the back of his neck and upper back. He also wore a heating pad on the bench when he was not in the game.
“It’s still stiff, pretty much,” Dončić said. “But once you get warm, it’s way better. We just keep working on it.”
What may have been more troublesome to him was the right ankle that he tweaked in the first half against the Grizzlies. It didn’t sideline him, but Dončić clearly wasn’t happy that he got nicked on the ankle – and the fact that no foul was called.
Clearly, nothing impacted Luka very much. He finished with 37 points, 11 rebounds and nine assists.
Homecoming for Jenkins: Memphis coach Taylor Jenkins grew up in Dallas and attended St. Mark’s High School.
He always enjoys his visits back to his hometown.
“Growing up here, getting to reconnect with my family – kind of strolling down childhood memory lane,” he said. “And then Monday, I shall be spending time at my high school, with students there, teachers.
“There’s been a huge community of people who have supported me to allow me to get to this point. I know how blessed I am with the people that have been around me in my life.”
Jenkins said that some of the staff from St. Mark’s attended Sunday’s game. When he was growing up, his family had season tickets for the Mavericks.
Briefly: Sterling Brown remained out with left foot soreness while Frank Ntilikina was sidelined with what Kidd described as a non-COVID-related illness . . . The Mavericks will have a quick, two-game trip to the West Coast to play Golden State Tuesday and Portland on Wednesday. They then return home Saturday to play Rick Carlisle’s Indiana Pacers.
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