Jimmy Fallon was one of the many late-night talk show hosts to share a tribute to late NBA legend Kobe Bryant on Monday night, honoring the future Hall of Famer with his opening monologue on The Tonight Show.
Fallon recalled a story of the first time and he Kobe met as they were two young kids just getting started in Los Angeles.
“Kobe was such a life force,” Fallon said. “So strong and creative and inspired that in my head I thought that he was going to live forever. We were at a party and we didn’t know anybody at the party so we just started talking.”
Eventually, Fallon and Kobe went on a beer run together, only to find out the spot they arrived at was delivery only and would not allow them inside. Luckily, Kobe was there to save the day.
“Then Kobe takes out his ID and he puts it up against the glass and he goes, ‘I’m a Laker,'” Fallon continued. “The guy opened the door and we walked out with five cases of beer and we saved the party. We saved the party, we said goodnight, and of course, Kobe went on to become a legend. Five NBA titles, two Olympic gold medals, 18 All-Star appearances, one of the most brilliant and most respected players in NBA history. When we’d run into each other over the years we’d laugh about that night that we first met. We’d laugh about how much fun it is to raise kids and all the stupid mistakes we made trying to figure out how to be good dads. Kobe has four daughters and I have two daughters. Today, he and one of his girls are gone.”
“I think I knew Kobe enough to know that he rose to any challenge by digging deeper and getting back to work. So, let’s honor Kobe, Gianna and the other lives that were lost yesterday by following his example. Love your family, love your teammates and out work everyone else in the gym. To Vanessa and all those affected by this tragedy, we love you and we’ll always be there for all of you. Kobe, when we meet again, we’re going on a beer run.”
You can watch the tribute below.
Our deepest condolences continue to go out to the Bryant family, and the families of the other 7 victims — John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli and Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester and Payton Chester, and pilot Ara Zobayan — who tragically lost their lives.