Their final exchange. Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka revealed his last text message from Kobe Bryant during his emotional speech at the late NBA star’s public memorial on Monday, February 24.
Pelinka, who was Bryant’s agent and friend before he became the Lakers GM in 2017, revealed the athlete reached out on January 26 — the same day as the tragic helicopter accident that took the lives of nine people, including Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. According to Pelinka, the former Lakers star was looking for a baseball agent to help the daughter of one of his friends.
“I grabbed my phone and text Kobe back that I had seen the baseball agent at a Lakers game just the other night and was happy to help him with whatever he wanted,” Pelinka explained. “It was now just past 9:30. Kobe texted back explaining his desire to help a friend of his secure a baseball agency internship for one of his young daughters. Kobe vouched for the girl’s character, intellect and work ethic. He clearly wanted to champion a bright future for her.”
Pelinka and Bryant’s text exchange came minutes before the basketball legend’s helicopter collided into a hillside in Calabasas, California.
“I text Kobe right back and said I would put a plan in motion to help get that done,” the basketball executive said. “A handful of minutes later, Kobe and Gianna and seven other beautiful souls ascended into heaven. Kobe had been texting me from the helicopter.”
Pelinka concluded: “Kobe’s last human act was heroic. He wanted to use his platform to bless and shape a young girl’s future. Hasn’t Kobe done that for all of us?”
While Bryant and Gianna were laid to rest during a private funeral on February 7, several speakers, including Pelinka, took the stage to pay tribute to the father-daughter duo at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Monday. Bryant’s late wife, Vanessa Bryant, with whom he shared daughters Natalia, 17, Gianna, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 8 months, made headlines for her heartbreaking eulogy.
“They were so easy to love. They were funny, happy, silly, and they loved life,” Vanessa, 37, told the crowd, which included Shaquille O’Neal, Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Dwyane Wade, Gabrielle Union, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez. They were so full of joy and adventure. God knew they couldn’t be on this Earth without each other. He had to bring them home to have them together.”