Bonn Telekom Baskets captain TJ DiLeo writes about the death of Kobe Bryant. His father Tony DiLeo trained the superstar before he became famous.
I had just finished eating dinner when my mom called me. I thought it was just to talk about the Baskets game like usual. But then right away, she told me what she had heard. Usually I am the one to tell her things, but this time it was the opposite. I couldn’t believe it, and I was hoping it wasn’t true. I constantly refreshed twitter hoping it was a mistake.
Kobe meant a lot to basketball players of my generation. We grew up with him, saw him do so many amazing things on the court. We experienced his greatness from the start of his career until the end. Many people’s love for the game came directly from watching him play. He was different than others because of his work ethic and mentality. Those two things could be translated to any person, in any life path, even outside of basketball. That’s why he was so popular.
Kobe went to high school in the philly area, so he always had the connection the area I grew up in. My dad loved Kobe. He trained him a few times right before he was drafted. My dad wanted the sixers to take him with the number one pick in the draft because he knew how special he would be. They eventually took allen Iverson... but since then, he always was a huge fan of the way Kobe played. He always talked about how kobe’s skills were on another level, and he mastered the details of the game better than anyone else except Michael Jordan.
When I was 10 years old the 76ers had a run in the playoffs to the NBA finals. This time In my childhood made the sport extra special for me. Honestly, it was my favorite time growing up. They played the lakers in the finals and I was able to watch the games live. Unfortunately the sixers lost and I was disappointed. But now looking back on it, im so Lucky to have been able to see Kobe win a championship in person. I saw just how amazing he was on the biggest stage. You have to respect it.
This one hurts.
TJ DiLeo has been playing for Telekom Baskets Bonn since 2016. Currently the team captain is injured. He was born on June 22, 1990 in Düsseldorf. His father Tony coached the Bundesliga team Saturn Cologne, Agon Düsseldorf and working with the German women's national team. Since 1992 and until today he has been working in various positions at the Philadelphia 76ers: as a scout, assistant coach, on the board and also as an interim coach who led the team to the playoffs in 2008. The DiLeos live in Cinnaminson, a small town near Philadelphia. DiLeo's mother Anna was an international player, his younger brother Max plays in the Bundesliga with Rasta Vechta.
(Original text: TJ DiLeo, Tanja Schneider)