Even with Arike Ogunbowale leading Notre Dame past Connecticut in the women’s NCAA tournament, Kobe Bryant established a positive rapport with the Irish star. The Los Angeles Lakers legend was on hand to watch UConn, which has become something of a regular occurrence.
After making a buzzer-beater to eliminate the Huskies in the Final Four, Ogunbowale made a reference about Bryant, which drew a response from the five-time champion. He reminded her work still lied ahead in the national championship game.
Ogunbowale followed up her dramatics by hitting another game-winner, lifting Notre Dame to a title over over Mississippi State. That then earned Ogunbowale a congratulatory message from Bryant.
Ogunbowale’s celebrity led to an appearance on ‘Ellen.’ Host Ellen DeGeneres confirmed with Ogunbowale that she’d never met Bryant, then surprised her by introducing the former Lakers icon.
For all his accomplishments, Bryant marveled at Ogunbowale having a leg up on him by making a game-winning basket to win a championship.
Aside from being on hand at the Oscar Awards, which saw Bryant take home hardware, he’s largely avoided the spotlight since retiring. That will change in some regard on April 12, when his show, ‘Detail,’ airs on ESPN+.
It should also be noted Bryant was wearing his signature shoe, Nike Kobe NXT 360, which releases April 13. The date was of course dubbed ‘Mamba Day,’ as April 13, 2016 was Bryant’s final time stepping foot on the court for the Lakers.