“All of us know what a great player he was, but he went beyond great playing,” Popovich said. “He was a competitor that goes unmatched, and that’s what made him as a player so attractive to everybody; that focus, that competitiveness, that will to win.”
Popovich added that the team is “pretty emotional” about the tragedy, and that he appreciated the media “letting the locker room be.”
“Good game, tough loss, who cares?,” Popovich said.
Prior to Sunday’s game, both the Spurs and Raptors took 24-second shot clock violations to honor Bryant. Other teams also followed suit in Sunday’s remaining games.
“We all feel a deep sense of loss for what he meant to all of us in so many ways, and so many millions of people loved him for so many different reasons,” Popovich said. “It’s just a tragic thing. There are no words that can describe how everybody feels.”
Popovich added that he is thinking about Bryant’s family, who is also mourning the loss of Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. The two were part of a group of nine aboard a helicopter that crashed in California. Bryant was 41 years old.