2020 has had a very troubling start to the year in regards to celebrity deaths. We’ve seen stars such as Kobe Bryant, former NBA Commissioner David Stern, and buzzing Brooklyn rapper Pop Smoke all pass away. Bryant’s memorial was held at the STAPLES Center in Los Angeles on February 24 and it was beautiful as we saw his wife Vanessa, Michael Jordan, former Los Angeles Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neil speak, and more. Prior to Smoke’s passing, he revealed how much Bryant meant to him.
Smoke was shot and killed in a Hollywood Hills home on February 19 which is owned by Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Teddi Mellencamp and her husband, Edwin Arroyave. Four men reportedly targeted him and that is also after Smoke accidentally posted the address on a bag. At the time, he did an interview with DJ Whoo Kid and mentioned how Bryant was his favorite player. This was after being asked if he was affected by his death and hit hard by it.
“Man, don’t say that. I’mma cry. Can’t do that. That n*a different. That was my favorite player,” Pop said. “Me and this na, we gon’ go back and forth on this all the time…I’m like ‘who the best player?’” (Referring to his friend who was with him at the interview)
Smoke explained how when the news broke of the helicopter crash that took Kobe, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others’ lives on January 26, he had a hard time believing it. He said that it was so shocking that it “f*cked his head.” This is also how many people felt when Smoke was killed in LA in the early hours of the night. He was only 20-years-old and was buzzing with records such as “Welcome To The Party” and “Dior.”
What’s even more sad about Bryant’s death is that he was set to be inducted in to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this fall. He was a lock for it as he was an 18x All-Star, 5x NBA Champion, an MVP, 2x NBA Finals MVP, 9x All-NBA Defensive First Team, 2x Olympic Gold Medalist, and more. Smoke was also set to take over 2020 after his Welcome To The Party record and “Meet The Woo” mixtape was released last year. This month, he released the Meet The Woo sequel which featured the single “Christopher Walking.” He was also featured on Travis Scott’s “GATTI” record off of Scott’s “Jack Boys” album.