LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 12: Kevin Durant #5, Carmelo Anthony #15 and Kobe Bryant #10 of the US Men's Senior National Team chat on the sideline during a pre-Olympic exhibition game against the Dominican Republic at Thomas & Mack Center on July 12, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The United States won the game 113-59.
(Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

Kevin Durant, the Brooklyn Nets, and the basketball community are still mourning the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant.

The NBA lost an absolute giant of the game in Kobe Bryant. Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant knew him well and he spoke to the media on Tuesday about the impact Bryant had on the league.

“It’s still hard to process this tragedy that’s made so many people in the world sad,” Durant said. “To have an opportunity and be around him in a human space was a joy and those emotions start coming out at once. It’s hard to comprehend all of this, but just having that time and those moments with Kobe it was always about pressing forward.

“At this time it’s so hard to do so with just the amount of impact he had on all of us. It’s hard to keep going right now. As a basketball community and the world as a whole, I know we’re just mourning and sticking together through this.”

Obviously, Bryant and Durant never played together in the NBA aside from All-Star Games, but the two were teammates during Team USA’s gold-medal run at the 2012 Olympics. By that point, Kobe was still a phenomenal player, but he was starting to cede the center stage to other players on the national team.

For one, 2012 served as a coming-out party of sorts for Durant. Everyone knew Durant was one of the best scorers in the world, but the 2012 Olympics showed everyone that he was simply one of the best players in the world. He led the team in points per game (19.5) and did it with remarkably efficient shooting splits (48.5/52.3/88.9).

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.