Alex Ovechkin speaks on tragic death of Kobe Bryant

Mike StephensNHL analyst
Yahoo Sports Canada

You didn’t need to play basketball to be inspired by Kobe Bryant.

Reeling from the shocking news that Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, tragically passed away in a helicopter crash Sunday morning, Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin stepped before the media to reflect on the impact the NBA superstar had on him.

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“He always treated me well when he saw me,” a visibly emotional Ovechkin explained.

“It’s hard. He was a legend in the basketball world, and in the whole world. It’s tough. I still can’t believe it.”

Ovechkin is not the only current or former NHLer to discuss his grief following today’s heart-wrenching loss. The outpouring of emotion and mourning across the entire sporting community has been almost unprecedented, and will likely continue for the foreseeable future.

Such a reaction is not at all surprising, either. Bryant was a revered figure across the entire sports world; an athlete who was idolized by seemingly all who watched him, regardless of which sport they happened to play. Bryant’s unmatched work ethic and killer mentality were the stuff of legend, and his impact on an entire generation of fans and players alike is reflected in the response to his tragic passing.

“As an athlete, you want to meet one of the greatest,” Ovechkin continued.

“And he was the best.”

Kobe Bryant was 41.

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