Former Lakers’ Teammate Pays An Emotional Tribute to Kobe Bryant and Gigi Bryant

Published 01/27/2021, 4:43 AM EST
IRVINE, CA – JULY 26: Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna Bryant watch during day 2 of the Phillips 66 National Swimming Championships at the Woollett Aquatics Center on July 26, 2018 in Irvine, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)


It’s been a year since the NBA and the Los Angeles Lakers suffered from the tragic loss of one of their most beloved superstars in Kobe Bryant. The impact Kobe had on the league and its stars is unparalleled.

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Former teammate Derek Fisher shared a beautiful relationship with Mamba. The Lakers drafted both Kobe and Fisher in the 1996 draft. Little did they know how special both the players would be for them.

In the 13 years the duo shared the court, they won an insane five NBA championships. Apart from that, the two were very close friends off the court.

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Derek Fisher pays tribute to Kobe Bryant and Gigi Bryant

As a year has passed since Kobe‘s death, Fisher posted an emotional tribute to his friend.

He wrote, One of the many ways I am reminded of how special they are and how they are still sending us love is how often I glance at my phone during a hectic day to check the time and it’s 2:24 and they’re both smiling right at me like “what’s up Fish?!” and instantly my perspective shifts to what really matters.”

“Your loss and the loss of those with you on this day 1 year ago will leave a hole in our hearts forever. We miss you both. The world really misses you both. We lift your families up in prayer. V, the girls, your family as well as the Bryant family. We lift all the families up in prayer.”

Fisher certainly was one of the closest teammates Kobe had, and this emotional tribute is reminiscent of how important the two Lakers’ legends were to each other.

Fisher’s iconic game winner against the Spurs

It was game five of the 2004 Western Conference semifinals. The Lakers were facing off against the defending champions, the San Antonio Spurs. The Lakers had a disappointing series against the Spurs the last time they faced off against the Spurs, losing 4-2 in the 2003 Conference semis.

Halfway to the series, it was all tied up between the juggernauts. With the home advantage, the Spurs initially won two games, but LA had pulled back two games of their own with dominant performances from Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant in game 3 and game 4.

Game 5 was pretty disappointing for both the teams. With both the teams struggling offensively, the game saw multiple lead changes. With 11.5 remaining, Kobe hit an 18-foot mid ranger to give the Lakers a lead of 72-71.

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But talismanic power forward, Tim Duncan had some other plans as he hit a freak shot to give the Spurs a 73-72 lead with 0.4 seconds remaining. The game looked done and dusted.

With one last possession, the Lakers had one last chance to win the crucial game. With a heavily guarded Shaq and Kobe, veteran guard Gary Payton found fellow guard Derek Fisher, who made the basket and won the game for the Lakers. The Purple and Gold went on to defeat the champions in the next game and clinched the series.

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To this day, it remains one of the most iconic shots in Lakers’ history.

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Aditya Mohapatra

981 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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