Brady Smigiel, 13, took one of the last selfies with LA Lakers basketball star Kobe Bryant. It happened on Saturday, a day before Bryant and eight others were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
Brady saw Bryant, who was coaching his daughter, Gianna, and her team, Brady says. So he went up to Bryant and asked him for a picture.
According to Brady’s mom, Dionne Smigiel, “Kobe gave him knuckles, and Brady said ‘he wasn’t in the mood to talk because they lost.’ “
As Bryant walked past, Brady snapped a quick picture with him, getting his profile view. But he wasn’t planning to give up on his request.
The paper writes that Brady waited until after the second game that Gianna played before approaching Bryant again. He waited for them as they walked out of the academy.
Dionne said of her son, “He kind of stopped Kobe on his way out the door, and just said: ‘Can I get a picture with you now?’ ”
“I was up, and I saw his car pull up right over here, and I was like, ‘Kobe could I get a quick picture with a couple of my friends,'” Brady said, according to CBS Los Angeles.
According to Dionne, “Kobe said, ‘Are you playing in the tournament?’ Brady said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘I’ll get you a pic tomorrow.’ ”
Brady got another picture at that time as well.
13yo Brady Smigiel took these selfies @MambaSportsHQ on Saturday. Brady says as #KobeBryant was leaving the training facility, he promised to take a picture w/him & his friends on Sunday. Hear from Brady & young athletes from Mamba Sports Academy. It reopened today. @CBSLA 6pm pic.twitter.com/tEQ2mCDoKx
— Rachel Kim (@CBSLARachel) January 30, 2020
CBS Local also reported that Mamba Academy just reopened on Jan. 29, days after the crash, out of respect for Bryant and the others who lost their lives.
Ben Bass, a 14, says returning to the academy is stirring up some emotions.
“Feeling just a bit nervous, because I feel like everyone will be pretty sad now that he’s gone.”
Ben said that once the academy adopted Bryant’s “Mamba mentality,” beginning in 2018, the spirit at the school was lifted.
Of the “Mamba mentality,” Ben says it “kind of just means like you do your best, no matter what. And don’t give up.”
Dionne says Brady and his brother, Beau, are huge fans of the basketball star, saying they “live and breathe” the sport.
Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and seven others were killed in the crash, which is still being investigated.
Basketball stars, celebrities and fans of Bryant the world over have been mourning his death since the tragic crash.