It has been four years since Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant lost his life in a helicopter accident in California, and for many people, the Hall of Famer’s death is still difficult to comprehend.
It seems as though Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum is among those folks. The 25-year-old recently reflected on Bryant’s passing and shared that he wishes he had called or texted Bryant more before it became too late.
“It is bittersweet,” Tatum told Andscape. “I can’t believe that he’s not here anymore. And the thing that I regret is I wish I would’ve called him more. I wish I would’ve texted him more. I just always thought he was so busy. I never wanted to bother him. We knew each other. He told me to text him, call him anytime. But I was almost scared. I can only imagine all the things he has going on. I don’t want to bother him. And obviously after what happened, I wish I would’ve reached out more. I had so many questions I wanted to know the answers to. I should have called him more and it taught me a lesson.”
Tatum also shared that he no longer holds back when it comes to reaching out to some of the league’s older players, including current Lakers star LeBron James.
“Now I don’t hold back with older guys in the league now, like ’Bron,” Tatum said. “’Bron is somebody that I text and call a lot, and it could be from basketball to how to take care of your body to business decisions off the court. People are willing to give you answers, you just have to ask.”
Tatum has shown plenty of love to Bryant in recent years, with the Celtics star even sending a text message to the late Lakers icon before a pivotal playoff game in 2022. The text was a meaningful way for Tatum to honor Bryant, even if the four-time All-Star wishes he had reached out more before the helicopter tragedy in 2020.
Many players who are currently in the NBA grew up watching Bryant, with Tatum being one of them. Bryant spent his entire career with the Purple and Gold and retired as an 18-time All-Star, five-time NBA champion, two-time Finals MVP and one-time league MVP.
Tatum, meanwhile, is creating a solid legacy for himself as a member of the Celtics organization.
This week, he was named an All-Star starter for the 2023-24 campaign, which will mark his fifth appearance in the event. During his time in the league, he has helped the Celtics put together numerous deep playoff runs, though he and the squad are still trying to accomplish the ultimate goal of winning a title.
The Celtics are certainly threats to check that box this season, as the team currently holds the best record in the NBA at 35-10. But the Lakers are hoping to have something to say about that goal, as L.A. remains a team that can’t be counted out of the title conversation despite a mediocre record of 23-23.