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Boynton, Likekele on Kobe Bryant’s Tragic Death

Members of OSU’s basketball team remember the Mamba.



STILLWATER — The Cowboys haven’t had the greatest of seasons, but everything got put in a little more perspective Sunday.

A day before Oklahoma State was set to honor the 10 people who tragically died in a plane crash in 2001, Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people died in a helicopter crash in California.

Bryant was a former NBA MVP, a five time NBA champion and is fourth on the NBA’s career scoring list with 33,643 career points.

A handful of OSU players wore Bryant’s signature shoes in Monday’s loss against No. 3 Kansas, one of which was OSU point guard Isaac Likekele.

Likekele said he found out about Bryant’s death after the team’s practice Sunday.

“It was kinda unbelievable, still shocking,” Likekele said after Monday’s game. “Things kinda really just feel weird. Most celebrity deaths really don’t get to me, but Kobe felt like, I don’t know how to explain it. We all kinda feel that same connection with Kobe even though he didn’t know who we were. It was something tragic that happened. You can’t really dwell on it. Condolences to him and his family. That just teaches you to try to embrace life because you never know when it might end.”

OSU coach Mike Boynton has met all-time great Michael Jordan, but Boytnon said, unfortunately for him, he never got the chance to meet Bryant. Boytnon said he is sure Bryant would’ve been able to help him in some way just by being around him.

“I am a man of faith,” Boynton said. “I know it’s inevitable for all of us, and I don’t question anything that God does ever. I don’t ask why, just like I don’t ask why my team is struggling right now. Just trying to figure out how to continue to do my part to make it better.

“I’m thankful I had to opportunity to watch Kobe play for as long as I did. Just like we should all be thankful we got to see him play, we should be thankful we had to opportunity to have the people who lost their lives in the Remember the Ten for however long we had them. They’re all different ages, obviously. That’s how I look at it. Obviously an unfortunate situation for his family, but there’s some good out there that’s gonna come from every tragic situation.”

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