Jack Nicholson mourning the loss of friend Kobe Bryant

Jack Nicholson sitting courtside at a Los Angeles Lakers game

An emotional Jack Nicholson gave a rare interview to pay tribute to his late friend Kobe Bryant on Sunday.

The Oscar-winning actor is a longtime fan of Bryant's team, the Los Angeles Lakers, and can often be found sitting courtside at Lakers games.

Nicholson avoids the limelight and rarely gives interviews, but he opted to give one to CBSLA on Sunday to speak about his friend, who died alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash in California earlier that day.

"My reaction is the same as almost all of L.A.," he said. "Where we think everything's solid, there's a big hole in the wall. I was used to seeing and talking to Kobe that... it kills you. It's just a terrible event."

The 82-year-old screen star went on to recall the first time he met Kobe, admitting he'd "teased" the sportsman by offering him a basketball autographed by himself.

"I teased him the first time we met. It was at (Madison Square) Garden in New York and I offered him a basketball and asked him if he wanted me to autograph it for him. He looked at me like I was crazy," he said.

As for how he will remember the basketball player, who was just 41 when he died, the One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest star replied: "I remember the totality of how great a player he was... We'll think of him all the time and we'll miss him."

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