Prior to his tragic death in a helicopter crash, Kobe Bryant had accepted former teammate Dwight Howard‘s invitation to assist him in the dunk contest.
Howard said Tuesday following the Lakers’ 129-102 win over the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center.
Howard is “still in shock” over Bryant’s untimely passing, and regrets never having had the opportunity to let him know how much he appreciated him.
“He was going to do something for me in the dunk contest, which is kind of heartbreaking,” Howard said, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “It’s been on my mind every day. Man, I can’t believe it. I’m still in shock. It hurts. It’s tough. I just never thought that somebody like that would be gone.”
“I really wanted to tell him how much I appreciate everything he’s done, all the things he’s said. Even at the time that we were on the same team, we didn’t understand each other,” Howard said.
“But I saw a different Kobe, and I even saw a change in myself. And I’m pretty sure he saw it. I just wanted to be able to tell him how I felt about him, and I never got the chance to. That was really the most heartbreaking part,” he continued.
Howard is slated to participate in his first dunk contest in over a decade on Feb. 15.