Nets F Kevin Durant was the latest NBA star to share this thoughts about the tragic death of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.
Much like everyone around the league, Durant is still trying to process the event.
"It's still hard to process. It's a tragedy," he said after Nets practice on Tuesday. "It made so many people in the world sad. I had the opportunity to compete against Kobe and being around him in a human space was a joy. It's hard to comprehend all of this, but having that time and those moments with Kobe was always about pressing forward and I think at this time it's so hard to do so with the amount of impact he had on all of us.
"It's hard to keep going right now. But, as a basketball community and a world as a whole, I know we're just mourning [and] sticking together when it comes to this."
Durant was able to play against Bryant during his career, and built a bond with him off the court as well. Those two different sides to Bryant -- the player and the person -- evoked a wide array of emotions.
"You display every emotion when you were around him," Durant said. "As a competitor, you hated playing against him. As somebody that admired him, you just loved being in his presence. Just one of those things as a young hooper, he meant the world to us."
Durant understands that everyone, no matter if you knew Bryant or not, had a connection to him in some way. For him, he explained how he grew up watching Bryant, and as Durant's game grew as a young kid from Maryland, so did the Lakers star. They were also able to play together as well on Team USA, winning a gold medal in the 2012 Summer Olympics.
At that time, Durant was only getting started in the league. A 23-year-old, he was a three-time All-Star with the Thunder and gradually becoming recognized as arguably the best scorer in the NBA. That was a title Bryant held for years.
And Bryant, with his plethora of knowledge about the game, actually asked Durant at one point during a game for some advice.
"I remember how he asked me how I came off a pin-down one time and I'm like 'You're Kobe,'" Durant said laughing.
But that was Bryant: a constant student of the game that didn't mind asking younger talent for some pointers on moves. In fact, Durant alluded to Bryant's affinity to pass down his knowledge to the younger generation. He knew it wasn't meant for his mind just to keep trapped in.
"Just being around somebody who's been through so much in his life -- and invited everybody into his life as well along that journey -- just to see the lessons Kobe learned through the game and so eager to give it off to the younger players," Durant said.
Durant is currently going through something Bryant had to deal with in his career in recovering from a torn Achilles. When Bryant suffered his injury, he used people saying he wasn't going to be the same player when he returned as fuel to prove them wrong. Does Durant feel the same way?
Is he embodying the "Mamba Mentality" when it comes to his own recovery.
"Definitely," Durant answered.