Shaquille O’Neal’s 20-year-old son, Shareef, took to Twitter to share the endearing, heartbreaking final message that Kobe Bryant sent him the morning of his passing.
Shareef O’Neal, 20, joined dozens of sports figures and celebrities as he mourned the passing of NBA icon Kobe Bryant on Jan. 26. The son of former basketball player, Shaquille O’Neal, 47, took to Twitter to share the final message that Kobe had sent him. Making the matter all the more tinged with tragedy, it was sent the morning of Kobe’s passing. “Literally this morning you reached out to me,” Shareef shared in his tweet. “I love you forever unc…I love you.” The screenshot of the message Shareef shared featured the beginning of a back-and-forth conversation the two were having. At 8:19 am the morning of Jan. 26, Kobe appeared to check-in with Shareef, asking “You good fam?” It wasn’t until over two hours later that Shareef replied, “Yeah! Just been getting this work in trying to figure out my next move,” adding, “How you been?” They were the final words the pair exchanged.
Shareef’s homage to Kobe’s memory comes as throngs of memorials have flooded in throughout social media of fans and public figures mourning the LA Lakers star and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. On Jan. 27, Ayesha Curry, wife of NBA player Steph Curry, took to her Instagram account to add to the overwhelming outpouring of support for Kobe’s family. “Dear Lord, please cover Vanessa [Bryant] and her family,” Ayesha began the caption to her emotional post. “Sending infinite prayers. My heart aches for her and the girls.” In her revery, Ayesha added that she had, “written and deleted [this post] 100 times today.” She continued, “I have no words, and they’re never going to come out the way I want them to. Praying for peace and protection over this family and other families involved. Rest In Peace and power, Gigi, and Kobe.”
Along with Ayesha, stars the likes of Jennifer Lopez, Kim Kardashian, and even Alicia Keys, who took time to pay tribute to him at the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, have offered their support and condolences to Kobe’s family. As a result of the tragic events, the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards had a somber air about them despite the celebratory evening. A number of artists paid tribute to Kobe in their acceptance speeches and performances. Lizzo, in particular, opened the entire show with an explosive performance, saying “This is for Kobe,” before she went into her ballad “Because I Love You.”
All these messages and homages came hours following the fatal helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Kobe, Gianna, and seven other civilians onboard the aircraft near Calabasas. Kobe and Gianna leave behind wife and mother, Vanessa, 37, and their three other daughters and sisters, Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.