Jerry West Releases Statement on Kobe Bryant’s Death

Jerry West, the former West Virginia Mountaineers and Los Angeles Lakers basketball great, offered his thoughts and feelings about the passing of Kobe Bryant today.

In an interview with CBS 9 KCAL Los Angeles, West said, “To hear this news this morning, frankly, at first I was shocked.  I really felt like a surrogate father to him and this has been one of the most horrible days of our life.”

West told the LA Times, “To have been such, particularly when he was young, to be a part of his life and to watch his career grow, watch him grow, this is one of the most tragic days of my life. I know somewhere along the way I’ll come to grips with it, but now I have all of these different emotions regarding him. It’s so unexplainable.  I’m usually pretty callous about things, but this is going to take a long time for me.”

West, who is now an executive board member for the Los Angeles Clippers, also released a statement via Twitter through the Clippers organization: