Everett High School basketball coach Stanley Chamblain paid tribute to Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant in heartfelt remarks following his team’s game against Brookline in the Black Coaches Classic Sunday at the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Clark Center.
Chamblain, who excelled in high school and college basketball, said he first heard the news about Kobe just a few hours before his team was set to take the floor against Brookline.
“I couldn’t believe it when I somebody texted me the news [about the helicopter crash],” said Chamblain. “It’s a tragedy. I extend my sincerest condolences to Kobe’s wife and family and to the other families who also lost their loved ones.”
Chamblain, 34, said he closely followed Kobe’s career, saying that the 6-foot-6-inch guard took over the NBA mantle from Chicago Bulls guard Michael Jordan.
“Kobe was superb in all phases of the game,” said Chamblain, noting that Bryant was named to the NBA All-Defensive Team 12 times. “He took over from Michael Jordan and carried on that greatness and took it to another level.”
Chamblain said he was actually a San Antonio Spurs growing up and he remembered the exciting games in the Western Conference playoffs between the Spurs and Lakers. “I rooted for the Spurs but I always admired Kobe and what a clutch player he was. He always stepped up in the biggest moments.”
Chamblain, his coaching staff, and players observed a moment of silence for Kobe Bryant before their game against Brookline. Everett team manager Joey Lemay wore a Lakers’ basketball jersey (No. 24) in appreciation to Kobe Bryant on the Everett bench during the game.
Everett assistant coach Brian Benson, 31, remembered Kobe’s incredible career and his matchups against the Boston Celtics.
“Kobe was one of my favorite players – he’s among the greatest to ever play the game,” said Benson, who scored 1,299 points in his high school career at Pope John. “I used to love watching him play against the Celtics. Today is a very sad day for all. We’ve lost a basketball legend.”