Kobe Bryant reaction: Tiger Woods talks about loss of NBA legend

Tiger Woods was playing the front nine of his final round of the Farmers Insurance Open on Sunday when the news broke that NBA legend Kobe Bryant, 41, was among those killed in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, about 140 miles north of Torrey Pines.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in an afternoon news conference the passenger manifest for the helicopter indicated nine people were on board. There were no survivors.

Woods was on the ninth hole when CBS began discussing the crash. But he didn’t hear about the tragedy until a couple hours later, after he finished his round.

As Woods and LaCava were walking off the course, a CBS microphone picked up pieces of their discussion.

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At one point, Woods quickly reacts, turning to LaCava to say, “Excuse me?”

A few minutes after that, Woods was shown signing autographs for a throng of fans. Then, he stopped for a post-round interview with Amanda Balionis of CBS.

“You know, Amanda, I didn’t know until Joey just told me coming off 18 green. I didn’t really understand why the people in the galleries were saying, ‘Do it for Mamba,’ but now I understand.”

After a short pause, Woods continued: “It’s a shocker to everyone.

“I’m unbelievably sad. One of the more tragic days that, well, for me, reality is just sitting in.”

When asked what he’ll remember most about Bryant, Woods didn’t hesitate.

“He burned so competitively hot and had the desire to win. He brought it each and every night on both ends of the floor. I mean, not too many guys can say that throughout NBA history. He’d lock up on D. He was dominant on the offensive side, but anytime he was in the game, he’d take on their best player and just shut him down for all 48 minutes and that was one of the more impressive things I think of his entire career.

“Then when he ruptured his Achilles and went to the foul line and made his shots, I mean, that’s. … that’s tough.”

Earlier in the round, when the discussion first came up on the air, Nantz said that “Tiger, a huge Lakers fan. He posted a tweet with Kobe retired: ‘Thank you Kobe for all the memories and of course the five titles.'”

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