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Former LA Laker teammate on Kobe Bryant's death: 'It’s tough to lose a good guy'

Updated: January 28, 2020 02:34 PM

Minnesotan Devean George played alongside Kobe Bryant when they won three NBA Championships together on the Los Angeles Lakers in the early 2000s.

Bryant died in a helicopter crash on Sunday along with one of his daughters.

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Photo courtesy of ZUMA/MGN

"We just developed a relationship that will be held on for a long time --he was really good to me, that's what hurts more," said George by phone with 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS.

George founded the Building Blocks, a non-profit in North Minneapolis, that has a picture of him being hugged by Bryant on the main page.

"It's tough to lose a good guy," George said. "Especially someone who has done so much for you, and good to you, and your family."

George who played at Benilde-St. Margaret's School and Augsburg College was drafted by the LA Lakers in the first round in the 1999 NBA draft.

That led the Minneapolis man to play alongside Kobe---for three of their league championships together from 2000-2002.

Photo courtesy AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez: Dallas Mavericks forward Devean George (40) defends against a drive by Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Dallas, Tuesday, March 18, 2008. 

"He just loved guys who played intense, played hard, gave it their all, and went to battle every night," said George.

George says fans may know Kobe's hard work on the hardwood but the work started long before fans showed up to watch the Lakers.

"I'd be the one getting to the gym at 7am, working on my game and he's dripping wet since he was there since 5am," said George. "I live 10 minutes away from the facility, he lived 50 minutes from the facility."

It's that love of the game, George said, he won't ever forget when he thinks of Bryant, who was always trying to outplay his opponent.

"He'll bring it (a move) to the game, tonight as if he worked on it all summer long, no one could put that in their game and change their game overnight like he could, those are some of the things people didn't understand, they just saw Kobe," George said.

Photo courtesy of ZUMA/MGN

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Eric Chaloux

Copyright 2020 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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