Frank Vogel: Kobe Bryant Tragedy Brought the Lakers Closer

Kobe Bryant‘s shocking death has brought the Lakers closer together, according to head coach Frank Vogel.

The team, which held its first practice Wednesday since the tragedy, put out a statement along with owner Jeanie Buss and Kobe’s widow Vanessa all put out statements following the tragedy.

Bryant, 41, perished in a helicopter crash Sunday morning along with his 13-year-old daugher Gianna and seven others.

Per The LA Times:

“He was the most feared man in the league for an entire generation,” Vogel said from the team’s practice facilities in El Segundo. “The influence is profound league-wide, basketball community-wide, world-wide, Lakers family-wide and his influence will be felt forever.”

Above Vogel and to his right, a pair of overhead lights had been fixed onto the numbers 8 and 24, the numbers Bryant wore during his 20-year career with the Lakers. They’d been lit since the night before, and the team plans to light them for at least the rest of the season.

“It’s something that’s touched my family being the father of daughters,” Vogel said. “It’s been very emotional and something that brings us together. As well as the Lakers family. I’m around the people that were closest to Kobe throughout his time here.”

Vogel said he plans to follow the leads of [LeBron] James and Anthony Davis, who had a close relationship with Bryant since he entered the NBA, on how the team proceeds from here: “It’s a deeply saddening time for all of us.”

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