Hawaii basketball: UH players, coaches react to loss of Kobe Bryant

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant adjusted his jersey in a preseason game at the Stan Sheriff Center with the Utah Jazz on Oct. 4, 2015. / Star-Adveritser file photo by Jamm Aquino

Tributes from all over the world continue to pour in following the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna along with seven others in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

The Hawaii basketball teams were no different. Bryant, who continued to have an influence in basketball in the years after his retirement in 2016, was an icon to many of the Rainbow Warriors and Wahine.

Here is a compilation of video interviews about Bryant with UH players and coaches over the last few days.

>> Head coach Eran Ganot, who saw Bryant at Los Angeles Lakers training camps at the Stan Sheriff Center twice, most recently in 2015.

>> Assistant coach Chris Gerlufsen, who as a Philadelphia native played against Bryant in the future NBA star’s days at Lower Merion High.

>> Forward Justin Hemsley, a lifelong fan who wore his Kobe Bryant hoodie for days after Sunday’s tragedy.

>> Point guard Drew Buggs, who used to wear Bryant’s No. 8 during youth games.

>> Forward Zigmars Raimo, who followed Bryant religiously in Latvia.

>> Head coach Laura Beeman, whose appreciation for Bryant grew in his post-playing career through his mentorship of his daughter, Gianna, and role in growing the women’s game.

The Wahine have a moment of silence planned for Thursday night’s game against UC Irvine. The game has been designated Daughter’s Night, with daughters getting in for $1.

It remains to be seen what kind of tribute the UH men’s team might do for Saturday’s home contest against Cal State Northridge.


A couple final things — Lakers assistant Phil Handy, the former Hawaii guard, penned a must-read piece on The Undefeated with Marc J. Spears.

In it, Handy says “I wouldn’t be coaching in the NBA if it wasn’t for him.”


Here’s photo and video of a Bryant media scrum upon his return to the Stan Sheriff Center for training camp in 2015 — his last season in the NBA.

Kobe Bryant held court in the middle of the media scrum on Sept. 29, 2015. / Star-Advertiser file photo by Dennis Oda

And one of the games against the Jazz: