The tragic loss of Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash sent shockwaves not just throughout the basketball world, but the entire globe.
Bryant was such a wide-ranging figure and he was felt by people in all different facets of life as he developed a number of great friendships along the way.
One of those was with rapper/producer Kanye West, one of the most famous and also controversial people in the world. Many will remember West being in the building for Bryant’s final game of his career, but their friendship stretched much farther and he was severely impacted by his friend’s death.
West opened up about this in an interview with GQ Editor-in-Chief Will Welch, discussing how Bryant’s death has pushed him even more in his everyday life:
“One thing I thought was really amazing is that we were able to find a groove with the photographs today even as out of it as I was with the loss of Kobe. We were able to just go to the court and play ball. There’s one street that I drive to go from either my office or my home to the property where the domes were built. [Editor’s note: The street is Las Virgenes Road, the site of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and eight other people just four days prior.] So now there’s no way for me not to be as determined as Kobe every time I drive down that street. It’s game time. There’s no move that we can’t make, or that we’ll wait to make.
West would continue on, calling himself the rap version of Bryant and vice versa while also vowing to make a difference in the world:
“Everyone in our life is now a member of the Lakers on one of Kobe’s championship teams. The way that Kobe would say that we all have to come together and win this championship is the way I look at life now. To an infinite, other level. This is a game changer for me. He was the basketball version of me, and I was the rap version of him, and that’s facts! We got the commercials that prove it. No one else can say this. We came up at the same time, together. And now it’s like, yeah, I might have had a reputation for screaming about things—but I’m not taking any mess for an answer now. We’re about to build a paradigm shift for humanity. We ain’t playing with ’em. We bringing home the trophies.”
It is unfortunate that sometimes it takes a tragedy to really get the world focused on the right things. Bryant was such an inspiration to so many people — from the average blue-collar worker to the world’s biggest music producer — that it truly forces everyone to view things differently.
For someone in the position of West with so many avenues at his disposal, he truly has the ability to make great changes and inspire people much in the same way that Bryant did.