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Shaquille O’Neal Tears Up While Honoring His “Little Brother” Kobe Bryant

“I haven’t felt a pain that sharp in a while.”

Shaquille O’Neal didn’t hold back his tears while reflecting on the tragic death of Kobe Bryant during a special edition of Inside the NBA. The hourlong tribute episode, filmed from the Los Angeles Staples Center on Tuesday (Jan. 28), was dedicated to the late NBA legend.

“I haven’t felt a pain that sharp in a while,” said Shaq after revealing that he hadn't been sleeping since his sister died from cancer last year. “I’m 47 years old, lost two grandmothers, [my father], lost my sister, and now I lost a little brother.”

Shaq re-lived the moment that he found out about Bryant's death, and the "final blow" of learning that the retired Lakers player's 13-year-old daughter, Gigi, died with her father. Making matters that more emotional, Bryant reached out to Shaq's son, Shakir, via text message, hour before he passed away in a helicopter crash.

“In life, sometimes instead of holding back certain things, we should just do. We up here, we work a lot, and I think a lot of times we take stuff for granted. I don’t talk to you guys as much as I need to,” Shaq told his co-hosts Earnie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith, and Dwyane Wade.

Later in the emotional moment, Shaq reminisced about some of his final conversations with Bryant, and all of the things that he’ll miss the most about him.

“With the loss of my father, my sister and [Kobe] that’s the only thing I wish, [that] I could just say something to him again.”

Shaq admitted that Bryant’s death has rocked him to the core. “It definitely changes me because I work a lot. I work probably more than the average guy, but I just really have to now take time and call and say ‘I love you.’ Rick Fox called and said ‘Man I love you.’ [Brian] Shaw called me, so I’m going to try and do a better job of reaching out and talking to people instead of procrastinating, because you never know. Life is too short. I could never imagine nothing like this. I’ve never seen anything like this.

“The fact that we lost probably the world’s greatest Laker, the world’s greatest basketball player,” he continued as tears streamed down his face. “People are gonna say ‘take your time’ and get better but it’s gonna' be hard for me. I already don’t sleep anyway…but I’ll figure it out.”

Shaq went on to extend condolences to Bryant’s family, and the families of the other seven victims of the helicopter crash that claimed the lives of the NBA legend and his young daughter

“It hit all of us out of nowhere. I didn’t want to believe it,” he said of first learning of Bryant’s death. “I just wish I could be able to say one last thing to the people that we lost because once your’e gone, you’re gone forever, and we should never take stuff like that for granted.”

Hear more on Shaq and Kobe's bond in the videos below.

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LeBron James Sets Children's Book For Release This Summer

A man of many talents, LeBron James is adding author to his stacked resume. According to Entertainment Weekly, the three-time NBA champion joined literary forces with HarperCollins Publishers to create a children's book titled I PROMISE. The book will be released in August.

"Books have the ability to teach, inspire, and bring people together. That's why these books, and the opportunity to get children and parents reading together, mean so much to me," he said. "Most importantly, we wanted to make sure these stories are ones that every single kid can see themselves in. I PROMISE is powerful in that way and I can't wait for people to read it." On Instagram, James expounded upon his statement, hoping that the text will inspire its young readers and encourage the next game-changer.

"Man, the beauty of this is the process in how we got here," he wrote. "Never settling no matter the opportunities or chapters we add to this journey and now we get to share our promise and our story with kids and families everywhere. I can’t wait for everyone to read this, share this, feel empowered, and strive for greatness the same way my kids from Akron do every day." The book is illustrated by Nina Mata and will focus on giving back to communities and a reminder to always bet on yourself.

 

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Our own children’s book⁉️ What!! @ljfamfoundation @ipromiseschool Man, the beauty of this is the process in how we got here. Never settling no matter the opportunities or chapters we add to this journey and now we get to share our promise and our story with kids and families everywhere. I can’t wait for everyone to read this, share this, feel empowered, and strive for greatness the same way my kids from Akron do every day. 🙏🏾 Middle school edition next. 👀 👑 @harpercollins

A post shared by LeBron James (@kingjames) on Feb 18, 2020 at 9:10am PST

EW also notes the book will be followed by "a middle-grade novel" in 2021. The news follows another feat for the pro-athlete off the hardwood. After opening a public elementary school in his home state of Ohio in 2018, James' self-titled foundation partnered with Kent State University to offer free tuition for four years to the school's first graduating class.

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Pop Smoke Dies At 20 After Home Invasion

On Wednesday morning (Feb. 19), it was reported that rising rapper Pop Smoke was fatally shot during a home invasion, TMZ reports. The incident occurred around 4:30 a.m. in Hollywood Hills, California.

Local law enforcement has launched a search for two male suspects who were seen fleeing the scene of the crime on foot. According to ABC Los Angeles, the residence where the murder occurred is located on the 2000 block of Hercules Drive. Pop Smoke was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.

Born Bashar Barakah Jackson, the 20-year-old was on the rise in the music world, breaking onto the scene with 2019's anthem "Welcome To The Party." The Brooklyn native received acclaim for his Meet The Woo project, having recently followed it up with Meet The Woo Vol. 2 mixtape, that debuted at No. 7 on the Billboard 200. The "Dior" rapper also announced a "Meet The Woo Tour" that was slated to kick-off on March 2, beginning the ascent of a fulfilling career.

This story will be updated as more information is made public.

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Young Thug Tweets Message For Dwyane Wade’s 12-Year-Old Trans Daughter

Dwyane Wade supporting his 12-year-old child’s gender transition is apparently sending a few ripples through the rap world. Young Thug took to Twitter on Tuesday (Feb. 18) with a message for 12-year-old Zaya, whom he referred to as Wade’s “son.”

“All I wanna say to dwade son is ‘GOD DON’T MAKE MISTAKES’ but hey live your true self,” he wrote. Many people online were quick to check Thugger for his comments and for misgendering the child. He eventually deleted the post and tweeted, “You’re gods [sic] best creation.”

“The London” rapper has been known to proudly sport gender-bending fashions, which includes wearing a dress on the cover of his album No My Name Is Jeffery, but he’s not alone in his comments about Zaya. Boosie Badazz recorded a viral Instagram rant about Zaya’s transition that was mostly met with backlash.

Zaya who was born Zion, came out as trans to Wade and his wife, Gabrielle Union. The NBA star and father of five opened up about the tween’s gender identity in an interview on The Ellen DeGeneres Show last week. “Me and my wife Gabrielle [Union] we are proud parents of a child in the LGBTQ+ community and proud allies as well,” said Wade.

“We take our roles and our responsibility as parents very seriously so when our child comes home with a question, an issue, or anything, it’s our jobs as parents to give them the best information that we can, the best feedback that we can. And that doesn’t change because sexuality is now involved.”

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