May 18, 2021

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Pro Bowlers ‘crushed’ with news of Kobe Bryant’s…

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Pro Bowlers ‘crushed’ with news of Kobe Bryant’s...


The Pro Bowl went on as scheduled Sunday afternoon, despite the shocking and saddening news that NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gigi, and seven other passengers, passed away in a helicopter crash that morning. Bryant was 41 years old and his daughter was just 13.

Players were asked during in-game and postgame interviews their feelings about the tragic loss, and Packers linebacker Za’Darius Smith revealed that shortly after the team learned of Bryant’s passing, Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson gathered the team together in prayer for Bryant’s family.

The game was won 38-33 by the AFC, an outcome that was hardly relevant with so many players playing with their hearts broken.

“When it hit our locker room, our guys were crushed,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, who coached the NFC squad, said after the game. “They all were.”

 

Carroll admitted that at first, playing in the game did not seem like the right thing to do. However, he came to realize that if Bryant “would have had a say in it, he would want us to go play.”

“Go play and go play hard because if he was here that’s what he would do,” is the message Carroll sent to the NFC team.

Bryant’s untimely death sent shockwaves through the sports world, impacting athletes of all ages and in all sports. Carroll and the Seahawks teach a lot of Bryant’s mentality and work ethic, which makes his passing hit even more home for many of them.

“We have used his stuff a lot,” Carroll said. “It’s a great, crushing loss.”

Pete Carroll: Pro Bowlers 'crushed' with news of Kobe Bryant's passing

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