Kawhi Leonard confirms he has flown with helicopter pilot in Kobe Bryant crash

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A giant mural of Kobe Bryant hugging Gianna Bryant was drawn on a basketball court by fans in the Philippines.

USA TODAY

Growing up in Southern California, Kobe Bryant was the guy for any kid playing basketball, including Los Angeles Clippers stars Paul George and Kawhi Leonard.

“He was my Michael Jordan growing up as a SoCal kid,” George told reporters following the Clippers’ practice Wednesday. “He was what every kid wanted to be here. I started playing basketball because of Kobe.”

Bryant and his daughter Gianna were among nine people who died in a helicopter crash Sunday in Calabasas, California.

The Lakers-Clippers game scheduled for Tuesday was postponed.

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Leonard confirmed he had flown with pilot Ara Zobayan, who was at the controls of the helicopter with Bryant and the others on board.

“Flown with him a lot. Great guy, super nice, he was one of their best pilots,” Leonard told reporters. “That’s a guy who you ask for to fly you from city to city. It’s just surreal still for me. He’ll drop me off and say he’s…

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