A friend as well as a fan, Jack Nicholson remembers Kobe for ‘just how great a player he was’

Longtime Lakers fan and season-ticket holder Jack Nicholson spoke with KCBS’ Jim Hill on Monday about the death of Kobe Bryant.

“My reaction is the same as almost all of L.A. You just suddenly, where everything was solid, there’s a big hole in the wall,” he said. “I was just so used to seeing and talking to Kobe. It kills you. It’s just a terrible event.”

Asked what he would remember most about Kobe, Nicholson said, “I remember in totality just how great a player he was. But you know, I teased him the first time we met. It was in [Madison Square] Garden in New York, and I offered him a basketball and asked him, did he want me to autograph it for him? He looked at me like I was crazy.”

In reference to Bryant’s sense of humor, Nicholson said, “He got all the jokes. That’s for sure.

“I sat right behind his jump shot on the left-hand side. I can see him going up, and I can tell the first instant if it was in.”

Bryant, 41, and one of his daughters, Gianna, 13, were among nine people killed Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. They were on their way to a youth basketball game when the helicopter crashed.

“We’ll think of him all the time, and we’ll miss him,” Nicholson said. “He was just one of those touched people.”

A 6-foot-6 swingman with the ability to swing up front and play point or shooting guard, Bryant entered the NBA at age 18 and won five NBA titles with the Lakers, as well as two Olympic gold medals playing for the United States. He is fourth on the NBA career scoring list with 33,643 points.

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