Since the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant, and seven others in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, important figures from all walks of life have shared their stories of their time with Bryant.
It shows just how immense of an impact the Los Angeles Lakers legend had on the world around him. This includes people in the sports world such as Shaquille O’Neal all the way to Jay-Z.
Jay-Z — whose short time as a Brooklyn Nets part-owner and assistance in helping to bring them to the Barclays Center — will forever be connected to the basketball world. However, with such a loose connection to Bryant, it seems unlikely that Jay-Z would have a story to share about the impact of Bryant’s death on him.
That’s not the case tough as Bryant looked up to Jay-Z and spent time with him as recently as New Year’s Eve. It’s one of Bryant’s last words to Jay-Z that truly gets him emotional beyond just the loss of a friend, according to Melissa Roberto of Fox News:
“So Kobe was a guy that looked up to me and we’ve hung out multiple times,” Jay-Z responded. “He was last in my house on New Year’s and he was just in the greatest space I’ve seen him in and one of the last things he said to me was, ‘You’ve gotta see Gianna play basketball,’” Jay-Z said.
Jay-Z said that seeing the smile on Bryant’s face as he talked about his daughter’s future in basketball is what makes things so tough for him:
“That was one of the most hurtful things because he was so proud. The look on his face…I looked at him and said, ‘Oh she’s going to be the best female basketball player in the world.’ He was just so proud of what he said. That was a tough one. My wife and I are taking that really tough.”
Beyond the basketball side, it seems that what most people will remember Bryant for — and what hurts people the most about his death — is how great of a father he was.
Bryant went from a legendary athlete to a larger than life father figure seamlessly and seeing where his incredible second act was taking him was going to be an amazing journey for everyone. And it’s that thought that makes his death all the more difficult to comprehend.