“Kobe was a guy that looked up to me, and we’ve hung out multiple times,” the rapper, 50, said at Columbia University in New York City on Tuesday, February 4, at the launch of his lecture series in the Department of African American and African Diaspora Studies. “He was last at my house on New Year’s, and he was just in the greatest space that I’ve seen him in.”
“[He said], ‘You’ve gotta see Gianna play basketball,’” the 22-time Grammy winner recalled, referencing the athlete’s late daughter. “And that was one of the most hurtful things ‘cause he was so proud. And the look on his face was like — 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 … So that’s really a tough one.”
He added, “My wife and I took [their deaths] … really tough. That’s all I’ll say on that. Just a great human being and [he] was in a great space in his life.”
Beyoncé, 38, previously paid tribute to Bryant and Gianna via Instagram by sharing throwback photos of the father-daughter duo. “I will continue to diligently pray for your Queens. You are deeply missed beloved Kobe,” she captioned a January 30 post, referencing the late star’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, and their other daughters, Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.
The January 26 crash took the lives of nine people: Kobe; Gianna; pilot Ara Zobayan, 50; Gianna’s basketball teammates Alyssa Altobelli, 14, and Payton Chester, 13; Alyssa’s parents, John Altobelli, 56, and Keri Altobelli, 46; Payton’s mother, Sarah Chester, 45; and basketball coach Christina Mauser, 38.
Kobe and Vanessa, 37, had been married since April 2001.Listen on Spotify to Us Weekly's Hot Hollywood as each week the editors of Us break down the hottest entertainment news stories!
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