AUSTIN, Texas — Editor's note: The video published above shows an Austin, Texas, mural made in Kobe Bryant's honor.
On Jan. 26, a helicopter crash in Calabasas claimed the life of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gigi and seven others.
Former Texas Longhorn Maurice Evans played with Kobe on the Los Angeles Lakers from 2006 to 2008. While the world was grieving the loss of arguably one of the greatest basketball players of all-time, Evans was grieving a teammate and a friend.
“There’s so many broken families that are beyond repair,” Evans said.
“It’s hard to absorb that Kobe was a legend while you were playing with him, but if there were ever ‘living legends,’ that’s as close as I’ve ever been to it,” Evans told KVUE.
Throughout their years together, Bryant became a mentor to Evans.
“(Kobe's) forgotten more than we know in some instances, and it’s really that much of a disparity between how good he was and how good we were,” Evans said.
The two friends and teammates would challenge one another and make memories on the hardwood that will be cherished forever.
“It was the biggest compliment that he would pay me ... is he told me that he wanted me to guard him in practice because he knew that I would compete as well and push him to be better ... almost like a really good sparring partner,” Evans said.
The lessons Evans learned from Bryant stayed with him throughout his NBA career.
“Even when you made the shot, (Kobe) was trying to raise your level because he’s like dude when you’re tired, if you shoot that same shot, it’s going to go short. So I want you to be thinking about that ahead of time. He was always thinking ahead.”
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