In his first post-game interview since being stretchered off with a ruptured quad tendon last January, Pacers star Victor Oladipo opened up about the past year, Kobe Bryant and his clutch three-pointer that clinched the tie for his team Wednesday night.
“It’s been a hard, hard year. Really tough year. But God is good, man, God is good. I have a great family here,” Oladipo told Fox Sports Indiana. Speaking on his stunning three-pointer with nine seconds remaining, the point guard paid tribute to the late NBA legend, Kobe Bryant.
“I just shot it, man. Mamba mentality. Mamba mentality, man,” he said, his voice faltering with emotion. “That’s for Kobe, Gigi and all the people that were on the helicopter.”
Reflecting again on a rough year, Olidapo exclaimed: “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.”
“Thankful for my friends, this state, these people, my family, my teammates,” Olidapo continued, with tears streaming down his face.
“I’m just thankful.”
The world of basketball has been reeling since Kobe, his daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday.
Yesterday, Kobe’s wife Vanessa posted on Instagram for the first time since the tragic death of her husband and daughter.
“My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them,” Byant wrote. “We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.”
Vanessa added that she was “also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday” and is sharing in their grief.
“There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved,” Bryant wrote.
“Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me.”