Former MSNBC host on Kobe Bryant: 'You couldn't help but respect him'

Former MSNBC host Touré on Monday reacted to the untimely death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, praising his worth ethic and talent.

“I grew up a Celtics fan, and then I was an adult I became a LeBron [James] fan, so I was constantly rooting against Kobe but you couldn’t help but respect him,” Touré told Hill.TV, noting Kobe's approach to the game and his work ethic.

“He clearly thought he was better than everybody else on the court but he almost always was better than everyone else on the court,” he added.

Touré lamented the fact that the NBA legend, who was just 41 when he died in a helicopter crash on Sunday, was just settling into his retirement and his role as a mentor to young people and older people outside of the sports world.

“What an amazing loss for the basketball world, the whole world,” he told Hill.TV.

Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, perished in the crash, along with seven others.

The basketball legend, who spent 20 years with the Lakers, is considered one of the greatest players of his generation, earning five NBA championships. Though he has since been surpassed by LeBron James, he retired in 2016 as the third-leading scorer in NBA history.

In his final tweet before his fatal accident, Bryant congratulated James for passing him on the all-time scoring list, saying that James was “continuing to move the game forward.” 

Prior to his death, Bryant had been mentoring young people, including Gianna.

The shocking news of Bryant’s death sparked an outpouring of grief and support. Former teammate Shaquille O'Neal, who was a part of three Laker championship teams with Bryant, said that there were "no words to express" the pain he was feeling over the loss and offered condolences to Bryant's family.  

In honor of the NBA legend, a number of NBA teams used 24-second violations and 8-second violations to commemorate Bryant due to the numbers representing the two numbers Bryant wore during his career. Basketball fans also gathered outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles to mourn the death of the Lakers star. 

— Tess Bonn