Indiana's Archie Miller Crushed by Kobe Bryant's Passing

Tom Brew

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Basketball legend Kobe Bryant and Indiana basketball coach Archie Miller were both born in Pennsylvania just a few months apart, and their paths have crossed often.

For the Indiana coach, hearing the news about Bryant's death Sunday in a helicopter accident in California just seconds after Indiana's last-second 77-76 loss to Maryland was devastating.

"I just heard 30 seconds before I walked in here, and I'll be honest with you, as sick as I am about the game, ...'' Miller said, his voice softening and trailing off. "I have no idea who was on the helicopter with him, his family or whatnot ...

It's personal, he said. Very personal.

 "Look, I know Kobe Bryant,'' Miller said. "He was a year older than me in high school, we grew up in the state of Pennsylvania, he played for my dad in the McDonald's All-American game (in 1996 in Pittsburgh). I mean, like, that can't be real ... 

Bryant was born Aug. 23, 1978 in Philadelphia and Miller was born two months later on the other side of the state in Beaver Falls, Pa. They were a year apart in school, and Bryant went straight to the NBA from Lower Merion, Pa. Miller played college basketball at N.C. State before getting into coaching, and their paths have crossed often. They are both 41 years old.

"That's like the most sickest thing that's happened. You're talking about a generation of kids right now, in their gerenation, It would have been like Michael Jordan passing away at 40 years old. It makes no sense.

"I guess if there's a silver lining, man, you look at your players. You know, it's not the end of the world that we lost this game when you think about what's going on with other people. It puts it into perspective a little bit. That's just an unbelievable tragedy.''

"I don't know how to really equate it to our youth. In my youth, it would have been Michael Jordan, and maybe in older generations, maybe some rock stars, but that's just a sick, sick feeling, sick sad feeling for a lot of people around the world really.''