EagleCorps: Remembering Kobe Bryant

EagleCorps: Hello and welcome to EagleCorps, a podcast inspired by NPR StoryCorps. I’m Ellie Hand, and today we’re talking to Oak Park basketball players Clark Slajchert, Ryan Engelhardt and Hogan Zuckerman on how the NBA legend Kobe Bryant impacted them.

Hogan: So I went to my friend’s house in Lost Hills. And then like, when my friend and I saw it on Instagram, and I thought, okay, that’s really weird. I thought it was just fake. And then my friends started telling me like, “Oh no, it’s real, it’s real.” So then like after an hour, more articles than just the TMZ article came out. So then we were like, okay. So then we went over to Los Virginis, which was like, really close. And we saw the police and stuff and there’s a whole crash site, and like people had already been coming to honor Kobe with Kobe jerseys and stuff. So just like it felt really weird, but it still didn’t feel real. So I just kind of went on with my day and I didn’t really understand it and like I didn’t know about, who else was there. I just knew that they said Kobe and it just seemed kind of bizarre.

Ryan: That was just a weird time, Jane and Bryce called me just bawling. 

Clark: That was like the worst day.

Ryan: Like, my two best friends call me just crying about it. And like for me, it hadn’t set in yet. So I was like, I was just like looking at my friends crouched to the floor.

Clark: Yeah, same. I wasn’t even sad at first because I was like, blown away. I was in shock. Yeah, I was like, there’s no way and I was kind of trying not to convince myself that it happened. Yeah, I just kept it. I kept doing that and then probably like, the second day after I was sitting there and I was like, wow, like I’m never gonna see him again.

Ryan: Like when I got home from breakfast Sunday like, hey, I’m low key not gonna lie, like shed a few tears. Yeah, like I watched a bunch of old just stuff I’d watch all the time with him and like watching it that time I was like, seeing all the social media. I deleted Instagram and I deleted Snapchat.

Clark: Yeah, dude, it’s so hard.

Ryan: Because I surprised myself even though I never even thought like a celebrity dying could affect me that much. But I guess wouldn’t want someone like

Clark: That, who actually care about

Ryan: Like, shocked myself with how I reacted to it.

Hogan: I didn’t really cry until I knew about Gigi and stuff.

Clark: Yeah. 

Hogan: Just thinking about like young girls. And just like how tragic it was. 

Clark: When I first saw the tweet from TMZ. I think it only said Kobe I don’t think they knew yet. I think they said five people. Yeah, they were like this. They’re not sure who and then I saw Gigi there.

Ryan: Imagining Kobe his daughter in the helicopter wall. It’s like

Clark: Dude, stop. That is actually gonna make me cry.

Hogan: Like how I went down.

Clark: I was imagining him just hugging her right before knowing like, there’s no way out of it, like that actually made me cry.

Ryan: And Jonah’s teammates in their parents. 

Clark: Yeah.

Hogan: Yeah. 

Clark and Ryan: Kobe’s all on there as well. Yeah. 

EagleCorps: Thanks for listening, and stay tuned for more episodes of the EagleCorps Podcast. If you’re interested in being a part of our program, feel free to sign up for an interview session by clicking the link below. Be sure to tune back in next week. Our thanks go to NPR StoryCorps for the inspiration to Tony Peluce, Ryan Engelhardt, Clark Slajchert and Hogan Zuckerman for joining us today.