DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – “The ball stopped bouncing.” Former Dallas Maverick Jason Terry talked about how his daughter’s basketball team was scheduled to play Kobe Bryant’s daughter Gianna’s team on Sunday — the day that will forever be on the minds of sports fans everywhere.
Bryant, his daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in California Sunday morning.
The loss of the NBA legend is being felt throughout all avenues of sports, especially by former and current NBA players. Terry was one of those who felt the impact of Bryant’s death immediately as he said he was at a gym ready for a matchup between their daughters’ teams.
Terry’s daughter is part of a select basketball based in North Texas called “Jet/Randle 14u Lady Drive Nation.” It’s coached by Terry and Reginald Randle, the athletic director at St. Anthony Academy in Dallas.
“I received a call about six weeks ago asking for my eighth grade team from Drive Nation to come to LA and play in a tournament which Kobe called the Mamba Cup,” Terry said on the Mavericks pregame show on Fox Sports Southwest. “His daughter, he coaches her, Gianna, who was on that [helicopter] with a couple of her teammates, they play for him and his team. We were to play them Sunday… at noon.”
"We cannot play another game today, because Kobe has passed away."
Jason Terry discusses how his daughter's team was scheduled to play Gianna Bryant's team yesterday. pic.twitter.com/oDRLh2XzSk
— FOX Sports Southwest (@FOXSportsSW) January 28, 2020
The news of the helicopter crash and Bryant being among the victims was reported at around 11 a.m. PT. Terry said he was getting ready for the game when he got the news from his wife.
“Just the feeling walking into that gym, I was totally numb. I ran up to the first official I could see and told them ‘Look, there’s no more basketball. We cannot play another game today. Kobe has passed away,'” Terry said. “Immediately, the ball stopped bouncing, everyone converged on one of the courts and we all just gathered around, got on one knee and one gentleman… he said a huge prayer.”
Terry then talked about how he went to one of Gianna’s games on Saturday and sat next to Kobe as he coached the team.
“She hit a three, she turned, he smiled, she smiled and she got back on defense. That memory for me is just in my mind because you just never know. They were on their way to play my team, to play against our team in that gym… it’s just heartbreaking,” Terry said.
Terry spent eight seasons with the Mavericks from 2004 to 2012 and was very familiar with Bryant. The Mavericks beat the Lakers in a playoff series that eventually led to Dallas’ first NBA championship in 2011.
The Mavericks honored Bryant Monday evening during their game against the Oklahoma City Thunder by taking an eight-second backcourt violation in memory of Bryant’s #8 jersey.
Owner Mark Cuban also said that no Maverick will ever wear the #24 jersey again.