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OSU basketball: Cowboys honor Kobe Bryant

STILLWATER — Oklahoma State star point guard Isaac Likekele went through Sunday’s practice unaware of the tragedy thousands of miles away in Los Angeles.

Former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others died in a helicopter crash. People all over the world have mourned.

“That just teaches you to just try to embrace life because you never know when it might end,” Likekele said after the Cowboys’ 65-50 loss to No. 3-ranked Kansas on Monday.

More than 24 hours after Bryant’s death, several OSU players paid tribute to the Lakers star by wearing his Nike-branded shoes. The Cowboys posted a picture of Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gigi, alongside a photo of John Altobelli on the videoboard of Gallagher-Iba Arena as public-address announcer Larry Reece read a tribute.

Likekele, Avery Anderson III, Jonathan Laurent, Dee Mitchell, J.K. Hadlock and Trey Reeves all work versions of the shoes. 

“Things kinda really feel weird,” Likekele said. “Most celebrity deaths don’t really get to me, but Kobe just felt like — I don’t know how to explain it. Y’all kinda feel that same connection with Kobe, even though he didn’t know who we were. But it was something tragic that happened.

OSU coach Mike Boynton never met Bryant, though he now really wishes he had the opportunity.

“I'm sure he could have probably helped me in some way shape or form just by being around him,” Boynton said. “I'm thankful that I had an opportunity to watch Kobe play for as long as I did. 

“Just like we all should be thankful that we got to see him play, we should be thankful we had the opportunity to have the people who lost their lives and remember the 10 (former OSU men associated with the basketball program who died in a 2001 plane crash) for however long we had them.”

Related Photos
Los Angeles' Kobe Bryant (24) runs back on defense after making a shot during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, April 11, 2016. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

Los Angeles' Kobe Bryant (24) runs back on defense after making a shot during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, April 11, 2016. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman

<figure><img src="//cdn2.newsok.biz/cache/r960-56fe3a0e82edc09227f6fe489979c21d.jpg" alt="Photo - Los Angeles' Kobe Bryant (24) runs back on defense after making a shot during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, April 11, 2016. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman" title="Los Angeles' Kobe Bryant (24) runs back on defense after making a shot during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, April 11, 2016. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman"><figcaption>Los Angeles' Kobe Bryant (24) runs back on defense after making a shot during an NBA basketball game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Monday, April 11, 2016. Photo by Nate Billings, The Oklahoman</figcaption></figure>
Jacob Unruh

Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the... Read more ›

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