Nantz, Faldo Remember Kobe Bryant’s Death a Year Later

Today, Tuesday, January 26 marks the one year anniversary of the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gigi and seven others. 

They died in a helicopter crash 140 miles north of Torrey Pines where the final round of the Farmers Insurance Open was set to take place. 

Kobe Bryant PHOTO: Alexandra Walt/Flickr

During a CBS Golf media availability last week, Jim Nantz recalled finding out about the tragedy just minutes before they were about to go live. 

“We made a decision probably at 2:59 Eastern Time, one minute before we were going on the air, we need to isolate the opening of the broadcast from the golf tournament. We need to open up the broadcast by addressing this,” Nantz recalled. 

One of the many tricky things CBS had to navigate was that they had no idea if the players knew of the tragedy and that the entire country, perhaps the world, was in a state of shock and morning. 

“You didn’t know if the players inside the ropes had any idea how the whole nation was mourning. Marc Leishman won the tournament. I can barely remember that. I feel bad saying that about Mark. … As the broadcast went on, I think our voices reflected what the nation was feeling,” said Nantz. 

One moment that stands out is when Tiger Woods found out about the tragedy as he was walking off the 18th green. 

Caddie Joe LaCava told him the news and he exclaimed, “Exuse me?”

He was then asked about it in a post round interview. 

During the conference call, Nantz admitted that in hindsight they should have handled that particular part of the broadcast differently. 

“We were stunned. We were in shock,” added CBS analyst Nick Faldo about the day. 

Nantz added, “Even to this day now, coming up on a year later, doesn’t feel real.” 

Kobe Bryant was 41, his daughter 13. 

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