SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Jeff Biggs, who spent several years travelling with the Lakers as the radio pre and post-game show host, reflected on the time he spent with Kobe Bryant after the basketball icon's tragic death Sunday in a helicopter crash. "He was truly one of a kind. He was so special. He was unique. He was the greatest player in the game.”
Biggs said Bryant never acted like a superstar with those around him, often showing interest in people's lives and families. He recalled a time shortly after the birth of Biggs' first child when Bryant was shooting in the gym. Upon noticing Biggs, Bryant paused his practice to come over and ask to see baby pictures. “Everybody felt like they had a connection with him because he always made time," Biggs told 10News.
"He didn’t big-time people. He always made time. Every single day people wanted a piece of him and yet he still found time and did the things he needed to do.” Biggs and Bryant would often joke about being the parent of three daughters (Bryant and his wife would later have a fourth). "When there were those moments where you didn’t want to talk about basketball, that was, for me, the bond. That was the connection. Being a parent, being a dad, having daughters.”
Bryant came into the league straight of high school and while he quickly rose to superstardom, it was not always a smooth road. Biggs points out that Bryant was often a controversial figure and not always beloved by all NBA fans, even in Los Angeles, thanks to his long-running feud with fellow Lakers star Shaquille O'Neal.
However, Biggs thinks that fatherhood helped Bryant mature and come to peace with who he was and with his reputation, especially as he retired. “He was pouring himself as a dad into their lives and really wanted to make a difference for them. He was becoming more and more selfless as he went on.”
Biggs says Bryant showed in recent years that he had a lot he still wanted to give, especially as an inspiration and proponent to women's sports. “I think Kobe just touched so many different people in so many different ways. The tragedy is that he wasn’t finished. He was only 41. He was just getting started for this second half of his life.”