Bryant, 41, and his daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, 13, perished when their helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California, on Jan. 26, 2020, taking the lives of seven others on board in the process.
The Lakers were flying back from Philly as Davis escaped into the film Avengers: Endgame. Davis knew something was wrong when teammates Dwight Howard and DeMarcus “Boogie” Cousins approached him with looks of horror on their faces.
“So I remove one of my headphones, and I look and Dwight tells me, ‘Man, Kobe died,’ ” Davis explained. “And me thinking as invincible as Kobe Bryant is, I’m like, ‘Kobe who?’ Because I’m like it’s not Kobe Bryant.”
Meanwhile, King James was deep in slumber, so AD jolted him awake. Dread began to fill the private plane. AD recalls James’ first reaction.
“I remember the first thing Bron said to me was, ‘Man, y’all stop playing, like, stop playing with me.’ And I’m trying to get on the internet, and Dwight, like, you can see him start crying. He was like, ‘It’s true.’ ”
James said he immediately went into leadership mode to calm the tension-filled cabin of horrified teammates, coaches and support staff.
“It was just off the top of my head, just off the cuff,” James told ESPN. “I think it was needed for us to come together and just give thanks to the Man above.
James said that even though humans don’t understand God’s plan most of the time, “know that He’s never made a mistake.
“And just hope that He has his hands on top of Vanessa [Bryant] and the kids at that time, and hope that He continues to watch over all of us,” James added. “So, I don’t know, it wasn’t something I thought about. It was something that just kind of came to me, and I said my piece.”