In his last interview with a Los Angeles Times sports columnist, Kobe Bryant discussed basketball and the LA Lakers.
Yet, he likewise talked about being a family man and how he wanted to elevate youth and women’s sports, as indicated by audio of the interview released by the LA Times Saturday.
When inquired as to why he didn’t go to numerous Lakers home games, Bryant said he’d preferably spend time at home.
“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 have to,” he said. “I’d rather just be hanging with them.”
The interview is from October, only a few months before Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and 7 others were killed in a helicopter crash. Journalist Arash Markazi decided to drive two hours to meet Bryant for a 17-minute interview.
“It was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in my career,” Markazi wrote.
Markazi asked Bryant about his relationship with Gianna, who passed by Gigi and training her youth basketball team.
“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.”
He continued: “What I love about Gigi is her curiosity about the game … 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 question, 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.”
Bryant was gotten some information about imagining his daughter moving away to play ball in college, and like numerous dads, he conceded, “you never want to see your kids leave home, but eventually they have to.”
Bryant additionally shared his thoughts about raising female athletes, saying that he’d always been a “big supporter of the women’s game.” But having daughters who play sports – his oldest, Natalia, play volleyball – was a major part of his desire to help push women’s sports forward.
“Just trying to enhance the women’s game, not just in basketball but in volleyball and other sports, is extremely important. Anything I can do to help, I’m gonna do.”
He highlighted coaching his team at the Mamba Sports Academy and telling the players and mentors that it was a group effort to win. So also, “this is a joint effort to raise the women’s game,” he said.
Markazi likewise got some information about his legacy, and whether he saw the Mamba Academy and youth sports playing a major role in how he was remembered.
“Hopefully,” he said, “if we do it the right way, we’re known more for what we did after than what we did during.”
“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.”