What Kobe Bryant meant to basketball players of all ages cannot be measured. What he meant to the younger generation of hoopers is even more inestimable.
Shareef O’Neal, the son of NBA legend and Bryant’s former teammate Shaquille O’Neal, is one of those players. After news of Bryant’s death, Shareef shared a message he received from the Mamba earlier today, before he died in a tragic plane crash.
Bryant reached out to Shareef to see how he was doing. The younger O’Neal recently announced he was transferring from UCLA, and previously missed his freshman season with the Bruins in 2018-19 due to a heart condition.
“Literally this morning you reached out to me …. I love you forever unc I love you,” O’Neal tweeted.
Literally this morning you reached out to me ….😔 I love you forever unc❤️ I love you pic.twitter.com/3oVgvKKUkm
— Shareef O’Neal (@SSJreef) January 26, 2020
Kobe reached out to Shareef only hours before he and his 13-year-old daughter were one of nine people reportedly killed in a helicopter crash in California.
It is clear the two had a special bond, and this will be a message the younger O’Neal will want to hang on to forever.