Video: Jerry West Emotionally Recalls Being 'Surrogate Father' to Kobe Bryant

Ryan Glasspiegel
Jerry West remembers Kobe Bryant
Jerry West remembers Kobe Bryant /

ABC and ESPN simulcasted a special program Sunday night to cover the Kobe Bryant tragedy. On the telecast, Michael Strahan and Robin Roberts interviewed Jerry West, who was the Lakers executive who traded for Bryant on draft night in 1996:

West said that his first reaction to the news was hoping the report was wrong -- anecdotally, this seems to have been a pretty common reaction yesterday -- before reflecting on their relationship together. West spoke about being a surrogate father to Kobe, helping him get acclimated to both Los Angeles and to harness his talent in the NBA as a 17-year-old.

West said that the only thing that has happened in his life that compared to this news was losing his brother in the Korean War. West also spoke about the well-roundedness of Kobe in his post-playing career, in the media business and with the love he had for his family.