Dr. J, Danny Green, Kenny Atkinson among local basketball community to react to Kobe Bryant passing

In the hours after learning about the passing of basketball icon Kobe Bryant, a number of individuals with connections to the New York area shared their thoughts via social media. From Long Islanders like current Laker Danny Green and legend Julius Erving to local college program leaders like Hofstra’s Speedy Claxton, many offered emotional takes on the tragic incident that shook the world on Sunday afternoon.
Bryant, his daughter and seven others were killed when their helicopter crashed in Southern California.
North Babylon native and current Los Angeles Laker Danny Green delivered a heartfelt message about what he meant to young players like himself, who wears the same purple and gold as Bryant did.
“You were an icon and an idol to us all,” Green wrote. “You were a God! and your legacy will forever live on.”
Julius “Dr. J” Erving, who grew up in Hempstead, played with Joe Bryant, Kobe’s father, as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers. He offered his condolences to his former teammate.
Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, who grew up in Northport and played at St. Anthony’s High School, was emotional speaking with media on Sunday and shared a recent story about Bryant approaching him at Barclays Center.
“I didn’t even think he knew my name,” Atkinson joked. “He came up and gave me a hug. I ran right home after the game and told my wife.”
Half Hollow Hills alumnus Tobias Harris, who plays for Philadelphia where Bryant grew up, said he was “hurting to say the least,” and tagged the post with #MyHero.
Hofstra legend and coach and former NBA star Speedy Claxton, an opponent of Bryant, had no words, and posted a photo of Kobe and his daughter, Gigi.