(NEW YORK POST) – The husband of the basketball coach who died alongside Kobe Bryant said on Monday the hoops legend picked her to mentor his kids because she was so “extraordinary.”
Matt Mauser gushed about his “beautiful, smart, funny” wife, Christina Mauser, on the “Today” show early Monday after a sleepless night following her death in Sunday’s fiery California chopper crash.
“I’ve got three small kids and I’m trying to figure out how to navigate life with three kids and no mom,” he told the show in a phone call.
“I’m scared more than anything — I’m a little scared for the future.”
Mauser — who had also taught Bryant’s kids both Spanish and some hoops — said he had a slumber party with his kids where they watched the endless tributes on TV to the nine who died, including Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
Breaking down, he recalled his daughter telling him “it was nice to know that everyone was hurting along with us.”
“I know that that sounds odd, but it does kind of help,” he said on the morning show about the outpouring of “mourning and hurting.”
He said he knew all the victims in the Calabasas crash, saying, “It was a family. They all really cared for each other.
They were amazing people … They were wonderful, they were warm. They loved their kids and they were so proud that their kids were growing.”
He praised Bryant for making the girls in the Mambas team “gritty and tough” on the court.
“He was dedicated, and so was my wife. They were dedicated to these girls,” he said.
He said the legendary Laker had hand-picked his wife to mentor the girls.
“He didn’t choose Christina for just any ordinary reason — she was extraordinary,” he said, recalling his wife as “warm,” “incredibly bright” and “funny like nobody you’ve ever met.”
The husband was a Spanish teacher at Bryant’s kids’ school and knew the star before his wife did. But his wife’s talent shone through when she helped teach basketball there, he recalled.
“He saw what an amazing mind she had for basketball and he brought her on,” he said, saying he particularly wanted her to teach the girls defense, chuckling as he said, “Kobe didn’t really understand the zone defense because he never played at high school or college.”
“They called her the Mother of Defense — M.O.D.,” he said, saying he was “so proud of her.”
“She was amazing,” he said.