Jack Nicholson gives rare interview to pay tribute to late basketball icon Kobe Bryant

"It’s just a terrible event"

Jack Nicholson has given a rare interview to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant following the basketball icon’s tragic death.

Since the news of his death in a helicopter crash was announced yesterday (January 26), tributes have poured in for the former LA Lakers star.

Speaking to CBSLA’s Jim Hill, the Oscar-winner said: “My reaction is the same as almost all of LA. Where we think everything’s solid, there’s a big hole in the wall.

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“I was used to seeing and talking to Kobe that… it kills you. It’s just a terrible event.”

Kobe Bryant Lakers 2015
Kobe Bryant playing for the Lakers in 2015. Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Recalling his friendship with Bryant, Nicholson went on: “I teased him the first time we met. It was at the Garden in New York and I offered him a basketball and asked him if he wanted me to autograph it for him. He looked at me like I was crazy.”

He added: “He got all the jokes, that’s for sure.”

Nicholson also spoke of how much he enjoyed watching the basketball star on court: “I sat right behind his jump shot on the left-hand side. I can see him going up and I can tell the first instant if it’s going in.

“We’ll think of him all the time and we’ll miss him,” the actor later added.

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Nicholson is a well-known fan of the LA Lakers, though he has stayed largely out of the public eye in recent years. His last film appearance was 10 years ago in How Do You Know.

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