Shaquille O'Neal Says Kobe Bryant's Death Is "Always Going to Hurt"

Shaquille O'Neal shared in an exclusive interview with E! News that the death of Kobe Bryant will always be painful, but that he's pushing on in honor of the family members who lost their loved ones.

By kelli boyle Feb 03, 2020 7:49 PMTags
Watch: Shaq Remembers Kobe Bryant: "It's Always Gonna Hurt"

Shaquille O'Neal will always be mourning the loss of Kobe Bryant.

While on the red carpet of his carnival-themed "Shaq's Fun House" event in Miami this weekend, the former Lakers player gave an update on how he was doing following the death of his friend and teammate last week.

"I'm coping, but it's always going to hurt," he told E! News. The pre-Super Bowl event, at which he DJed, ended up being a fundraiser for the families of those who also died in last Sunday's crash. O'Neal shared that that particular detail was the main reason he didn't cancel his appearance.

"The proceeds are going to the families," he said. "We need to start talking about them more. They're very important. Anyone that loses a life is very important, so my condolences also goes out to the families."

According to AP, O'Neal led the audience at the event in a tribute to the late basketball player, prompting them to "Put your cellphone lights on. We gone light this (expletive) up one last time for Kobe Bryant."

"We miss you Kobe Bryant," he reportedly added at another point in the night. "Put your hands up for Kobe Bryant. We love you, brother."

Bryant, 41, was one of nine people killed in the helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday, Jan. 26.

His daughter, Gianna Bryant, 13, was also lost in the tragic accident, along with college baseball coach John Altobelli, 56, his wife Keri Altobelli, 46, their daughter Alyssa Altobelli, 14, Christina Mauser, 38, Sarah Chester, 45, her daughter Payton Chester, 13, and the aircraft's pilot Ara Zobayan, 50.

In the time since the tragedy, O'Neal—who played on the Los Angeles Lakers with Bryant from 1996 to 2004—has been vocal about his heartbreak. In a video from NBA on TNT posted on Twitter two days after the crash, O'Neal broke down in tears while remembering his dear friend.

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

"We're up here, we work a lot and I think a lot of the time we take stuff for granted. Like, I don't talk to you guys as much as I need to," he tearfully said. "The fact that we're not going to be able to joke at his Hall of Fame Ceremony; we're not going to be able to say, 'Ha! I got five, you got four'... Those are the things you can't get back."

The day after Bryant's death, the retired athlete expressed his disbelief and sorrow over the news on The Big Podcast With Shaq.

"I know he's going to be remembered and all that stuff but I just wish he was here. I just wish I could say something to him," the star said.

He later revealed on the podcast that he spoke with Vanessa Bryant the day before. As he said, "My heart goes out to Vanessa because she lost two. She lost her beautiful Gigi who was born on the same day as my 13-year-old and that's what really hurts. Stuff like this will always hurt."

Bryant and his daughter are survived by his wife Vanessa and their three daughters, Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.