Gary Payton discusses being Kobe Bryant’s big brother while he was going through rape case in Denver

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read

NBA Hall of Famer and former Los Angeles Lakers guard Gary Payton discussed how he was Kobe Bryant’s “big brother” while Bryant was going through a sexual assault case.

“I caught Kobe when he was going through a lot with what happened in Denver,” Payton said in an interview with Bleacher Report. “I got a chance to be his big brother. I got to know him as Kobe and not as what people were talking about with what him and Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal) were doing. Shaq is my brother and I love him to death. That’s the reason I went to the Lakers. To get to know Kobe the way I did was a pleasure. I hate that he’s gone and I hate that he’s not here. I miss him so much and talking to him and my kids talking to him. I love him because he’s a warrior too. He wanted things on his own and he wanted to do things on his own. When he decided to go and say he wanted the team on his own I said congratulations, beautiful. That’s what you’re supposed to do if you want to be a great and he was a great. He didn’t act like he was bigger than anyone. He asked me questions all the time and I gave him answers. It was my duty to tell him the right way to do things and it was a pleasure for me to be in his life and know him the way I did for the forty years he was on this Earth.”

Bryant tragically passed away in January of last year in a helicopter crash.

The passing on Bryant has been felt by the entire NBA world, and Payton is clearly one of the many former teammates affected by his death.

Bryant was always a student of the game, as Payton mentioned, and it allowed him to become a five-time NBA champion and Hall of Famer.

The 18-time All-Star spent his entire career with the Lakers and will go down as one of the greatest players the NBA has ever seen.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.