TNT’s Inside The NBA crew gathered inside Staples Center on Tuesday night for an emotional, cathartic, discussion regarding the tragic death of Los Angeles Laker legend Kobe Bryant. During the hour-long pre-game special, NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal delivered a tear-jerking tribute to his “little brother,” as he spoke candidly about his relationship with Bryant and how he has been dealing with the loss.
Following his raw display of emotion, Shaq led a roaring “KOBE” chant with all of the fans who had gathered outside Staples Center to pay tribute to the Black Mamba. Check out the footage in the video clip embedded below.
While speaking with co-hosts Ernie Johnson, Kenny Smith, Charles Barkley and Dwyane Wade, Shaq explained the moment he learned of Kobe’s passing.
“I haven’t felt a pain that sharp in a while. Forty-seven-years-old… lost two grandmothers, lost a sarge, lost my sister, and now I lost a little brother. Our names will be attached together for what we did. People always ask about our relationship and I tell them it’s just like me and Charles [Barkley]. You got two strong-minded people that are gonna get it done their way, gonna say certain things. The respect will never be lost. But when it comes to being inside the lines and winning, that’s what me and him, that’s what we did.”
“I’m not doing well. I’m sick,” said O’Neal, who lost his sister Ayesha Harrison-Jex from cancer in October. “I’m just getting over the death of my sister … I haven’t eaten. I haven’t slept. I’m looking at all the tapes. I’m sick right now.”
“People ask me how I feel … I gotta go back to not sleeping, not eating, not really functioning and it just hurts. It’s just hard to believe,” he continued.