Audio from Kobe Bryant’s final interview before his death in a January 26th helicopter accident was released on Saturday, and it shows just how much he loved his daughters.
The interview was conducted by sports columnist Arash Markazi for the Los Angeles Times. He said he drove two hours for a 17-minute sit-down in October with the Lakers legend and called it “one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my career.”
My last interview with Kobe Bryant could’ve been done in person or by phone. It didn’t make sense to drive four hours for a 20-minute interview, but I hadn’t seen Kobe in a while so I drove to him. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my career. https://t.co/yVfTiIwhrL
— Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) February 8, 2020
Markazi asked Bryant why he doesn’t attend more Lakers games now that he’s retired.
“I have gone through 20 years of the majority of my career with my kids Natalia and Gianna without being able to have that consistently,” Bryant said.
“So for me to make a trip up to the Staples Center, that means I’m missing the opportunity to spend another night with my kids, and I know how fast it goes. Natalia is 16 and Gianna is 13. So that time came and went and so I want to make sure that the days I’m away from them, are days that I absolutely have to,” he continued. “I’d rather just be hanging with them.”
In his final sit-down interview with Kobe Bryant, Arash Markazi asked him about what it was like to watch his daughter Gianna play. Here's what he had to say https://t.co/yiK2wAldAJ pic.twitter.com/ftV4JJ0oYe
— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) February 8, 2020
Bryant also talked about coaching his daughter Gianna’s basketball team, and what he loved so much about it.
“It’s a trip to see her move and the expressions that she makes,” Bryant said. “It’s a trip, you know, the genetics. Genetics is a real thing, man.
What I love about Gigi is her curiosity about the game,” he added. “Even in a very heated situation in a game where it’s very competitive and back and forth, she can detach herself and come over and ask a very specific questions, which is not common.”
“All of our girls can do that,” Bryant said, “but the part that I think is most exciting is that it’s her curiosity and her ability to think critically in tight situations, (that’s) pretty damn cool.”
He also addressed the inevitability of his daughters going off the college. “You never want to see your kids leave home, but eventually they have to, ” Bryant said.
Markazi asked Bryant about his Mamba Academy and what its legacy with be.
“I think you can have a lasting impact,” he said. “I mean winning championships, that’s great. Building families, that’s great. But when you can create stories and create moments and events and companies that can provide opportunities … and inspire kids and create situations where people can be better, I think that has a lasting impact, more so than winning championships does.”