The NBL will honour Kobe Bryant with 24 seconds of applause before every game this weekend. Picture: Getty Images
The NBL will honour Kobe Bryant with 24 seconds of applause before every game this weekend. Picture: Getty Images

Cadee felt ‘defeated’ after Kobe’s death

BRISBANE guard Jason Cadee expects an emotion-charged atmosphere at Nissan Arena on Saturday when the late Kobe Bryant is honoured ahead of the Bullets-Melbourne United clash.

Before every NBL match this round, there will be 24 seconds of applause accompanied by a video tribute to Bryant and his daughter Gianna on the big screens at each venue.

Five-time NBA champion and dual Olympic gold medallist Bryant wore No.24 in the second half of his legendary career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Cadee is a Lakers fan and closely followed Bryant throughout his 20-year tenure with the NBA powerhouse.

He said the Bullets squad was shell-shocked on Monday morning after news came through that Bryant, his daughter and seven other people had been killed in a helicopter crash in LA.

"When we rolled into training everyone was just so flat. You could feel it. I felt defeated because it was crazy to think about what had just happened. It still doesn't feel real,'' Cadee said.

"It's an eerie, empty feeling. You are seeing all these Kobe highlights on TV like he has just retired or something but it just feels off. It's something you don't want to believe.''

Cadee said the shocking nature of the accident, the fact his daughter was involved in the crash and Bryant's exciting and meaningful post-playing life only deepened the sadness being felt around the world.

He applauded the NBL's initiative to honour Bryant.

"For some more than others, it's going to be emotional this round. A lot of people are diehard Lakers fans and they are Lakers fans because of Kobe,'' Cadee said.

"For anybody that loves basketball, this will get them because they know what Kobe meant to the sport. We've watched him for so long and he's been in all our lives - from a distance.

"We talked about ways to honour him with the shot clock (24 seconds) but the way the NBL is going, it is a nice way of showing our appreciation. You feel how close the basketball community is when stuff like this happens.

"I know personally, I'll be sad and upset because I know what he meant to me. And I'm sure there will be a lot of people around the country who will feel the same.''

Jason Cadee says Bullets players were deflated at training after the death of Kobe Bryant. Picture: AAP
Jason Cadee says Bullets players were deflated at training after the death of Kobe Bryant. Picture: AAP

The fourth-placed Brisbane (13-11) will be looking to extend their winning streak to six games when they host the fifth-placed United.

The Bullets have shot at over 52 per cent from the field in their past five matches. It is the first time a Brisbane side has been able to string together such a sharpshooting streak, and the Bullets are the first NBL team to do so since the Sydney Kings in 1996.

"It's a nice tick for our group. We always thought we could get to a point where we are now. All the hard work is paying off and shots are starting to drop but we've got a long way to go,'' Cadee said.

 

 

Watch LIVE coverage of the 2019/20 NBL Season plus up to 7 live NBA games every week with ESPN on KAYO. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >



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