Jimmy Fallon Remembers Kobe BryantNov 29, 2022
The world was heartbroken yesterday by a helicopter crash in Los Angeles that claimed the lives of nine people, including Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. Kobe was such a vital force, so strong, creative and inspired that in my head I thought he was going to live forever. I met Kobe when he was 17 and I was 21. He was a rookie on the Lakers and I was just starting out on the comedy scene in Los Angeles. We were at a party and we didn't know anyone at the party so he just started talking. And I was like, "Hey, what are you doing?" And he says, "I play basketball." I go, "Where?" And he says, "For the Lakers." I say, "Wow." He says, "What are you doing?" I say, "I'm a stand-up comedian." We just hit it off, we hit it off, we started talking.
He told me that he liked poetry and I met his sister. she was there. So then the guy who was throwing the party said, "Hey guys, who wants to do a beer run?" And Kobe wasn't drinking. He was 17 years old. So he says, "I'll do it." He says, "Jimmy, do you want to come over?" So I say, "Okay." So, I got in the car, it was Kobe Bryant and me. And us, he's new to LA, and so am I. I didn't know Los Angeles at all. And we drive down Sunset Boulevard to this place called the Pink Dot.
It looked like a 7-Eleven. Well, I thought it was a 7-Eleven. you stopped. And... But it wasn't a 7-Eleven. Anyway, I go in, open the door and it's locked. And the guy says, "Sorry, I can't sell you anything." And I'm like, "We just want to have some beer right there." And he goes, "Yeah, I can't do that." And I'm like, "But real quick, we know what it is. It's just there." And he's like, "Yeah, that's not how this place works. We only do deliveries. We're not allowed to sell stuff." And I go, "Uh, okay." And then Kobe pulls the ID out of him. and he puts it up against the glass and says, "I'm a Laker." And the guy opened the door, and we walked out with five cases of beer and saved the party.
So we save the party, say goodnight, and of course, Kobe became a legend. Five NBA titles, two Olympic gold medals, 18 All-Star appearances. One of the brightest and most respected players in NBA history. And when we'd run into each other over the years, we'd laugh about the night we met. We laughed at all the good things that had happened since then. And we'd laugh about how much fun it was to raise kids and all the stupid mistakes we made trying to figure out how to be good parents. And Kobe had four daughters, and I had two daughters.
And today, he and one of his girls are gone. But I think I knew Kobe well enough to know that he was up to any challenge by digging deeper and getting back to work. So let's honor Kobe, Gianna and the other lives that were lost yesterday following his example. He loves your family, he loves your teammates, and he outdoes everyone else in the gym. To Vanessa and everyone affected by this tragedy, we love you and will always be there for all of you. Kobe, when we meet again, we'll go for a beer.
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