"It is hard to comprehend all of this," he said, per ESPN's Malika Andrews. "Just having those moments with Kobe, it was always about pressing forward and at this time it is so hard to so. It is hard to keep going right now... I know we are all just mourning."
Bryant died in a helicopter crash Sunday in Calabasas, California. His daughter, Gianna, was also among the victims.
Given the 41-year-old's legacy on the court, his death sent shockwaves throughout the NBA.
Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James, who passed Bryant for third on the NBA's all-time scoring list Saturday, wrote a heartfelt message to Kobe on Instagram:
"I'm Not Ready but here I go. Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had! I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn't think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we'd have. WTF!! I'm heartbroken and devastated my brother!!"
Like many others in the NBA, Bryant was one of Durant's influences, with the 10-time All-Star telling reporters in 2015 he "studied him, wanted to be like him." He added Bryant was this generation's version of Michael Jordan and being around the Lakers legend at the Olympics aided in his development.
Durant also included Bryant as one of his five greatest players when posed the question last April.
Teams honored the surefire future Hall of Famer by intentionally committing 24-second and eight-second violations to begin Sunday's games.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, some players "have begun informally retiring" Bryant's jerseys by refraining from wearing No. 8 or No. 24. Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie is planning to wear No. 26, switching from his usual No. 8 jersey.
Former Los Angeles Times sports columnist turned Director of Sports Journalism at Northwestern University, J.A. Adande, returns to “The Full 48 with Howard Beck” to pay tribute to the late, great Kobe Bryant with personal stories and recollections from his years covering the legendary basketball player both on and off the court.