Kobe, daughter were on way to play against Jason Terry's girls team
Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were on their way to play Jason Terry's eighth-grade girls team when they and seven others died in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning.
Terry, the former Arizona All-American, 1997 NCAA champion and 2011 NBA champ with the Dallas Mavericks, had brought his Drive Nation team from Dallas to play in Bryant's Mamba Cup tournament in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
The game was scheduled for noon.
"The news broke about 11 a.m.," Terry said on Fox Sports on Monday.
"I was on my way to the gym with my team. I parked out front. The games were still going on. I received a message from my wife, who was in the gym already, taking her seat as we prepared to go and play against Kobe and his daughter's team.
"Walking into that gym, I was totally numb. I run up the first official I could see and told him, 'Look, there's no more basketball. We cannot play another game today; Kobe has passed away.' Immediately, the ball stopped bouncing and everyone converged on one of the courts and we all just gathered around, got on one knee.
"And one gentleman, I don't know his name but he spoke very eloquently, he said a huge prayer. His message was, you never know when someone you know or love may be taken away from you, so hug your loved ones, tell them you love them and just embrace every single moment."
Terry played in the NBA for 19 seasons, last playing in 2018, with the majority of his playing career overlapping Bryant's.
"Saturday, when I got in, I was scouting Kobe's team and I was sitting right next to him when I coached his daughter," Terry said. "She hit a 3, she turned, he smiled, she smiled, and she got back on defense. That memory is just in my mind. … It's just heartbreaking."