Wendy Williams was overcome with emotion while covering the tragic death of Kobe Bryant on her January 27 show. The host cried as she remembered the late NBA icon, alongside former NBA player, Charles Oakley.
Wendy Williams broke down in tears as she discussed the tragic and untimely deaths of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna on her Monday morning talk show. As previously reported, Kobe, 41, and Gianna, 13, and seven other passengers died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, CA on January 26. The host, 55, dedicated the first half of her show to honoring the legacy of Kobe, with guest and former NBA player, Charles Oakley, who spoke about his late friend.
“To do a show like this, it’s very very hard on days like this,” a visibly upset Wendy began Hot Topics. Despite admittedly not following sports, she explained why Kobe impacted her deeply. “What I really dug about Kobe… I don’t know if I even saw him play a game, but I just knew, 20 years in the game, he’s a living legend. We do have a picture of him in the apartment,” Wendy said, noting that her son, Kevin Jr. was a fan.
“He really stood for putting his money into homelessness and also for girls and women playing basketball, which is a big deal,” she explained, noting that Kobe didn’t succumb to those who pressured him to have a boy. The father of four had always expressed how proud of his daughters he was, and praised Gianna’s love for the game. “He rose to the occasion of being a good husband and a good father,” she added. Kobe is survived by his wife Vanessa, 37, and their three daughters, Natalia, 17, Bianca, 3, and seven-month-old baby Capri.
Wendy went on to explain that she almost cancelled her show on Monday because she was devastated over the news of Kobe’s death.
“I’m like, ‘Ok I want to take off tomorrow, I can’t even deal with this.’ I had been on the phone with my parents because we were planning a family trip to Martha’s Vineyard,” Wendy recalled, noting that her family was excited to have a trip to look forward too, despite the highs and lows they may go through. “And, that’s the teachable lesson,” she said, urging her audience and viewers to “live each day like it’s your last, not in a bad way. Hug the people you love. Sometimes, you gotta let bygones be bygones,” she said.
Wendy concluded by praising Kobe’s strong worth ethic.
“That Mamba Mentality and that go, go go, that driving force and constantly trying to be the best version of yourself — that’s what he represented from what I can gather,” she said, adding that she canceled her Grammys style recap, as well as her DJ’s appearance.
“I said, ‘We gotta reconfigure the show.’ We were supposed to do Style Squad, breaking down the fashion of the Grammys. Forget best and worst [fashion], you’re alive! … I can’t deal with who’s wearing what, we’re alive, we’re breathing, and just live every day like it’s your best,” Wendy went on.
The host later welcomed her friend, former NBA player, Charles Oakley to the show. Oakley played 19 seasons in the league, eight of which were against Kobe.
“Kobe is not just a sports guy, he’s an icon,” Oakley said before sending his condolences to Kobe’s wife, Vanessa and their three daughters. He later honored Kobe by speaking about his Mamba Mentality. “His mindset, if you watching him through his career he didn’t let anybody break him down,” Oakley said.
As of January 27, the remaining seven passengers who died in the helicopter crash were identified as baseball coach John Altobelli, 56, his wife Keri Altobelli, and their daughter Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton Chester, 13, Christina Mauser, and the pilot, Ara Zobayan. The cause of the helicopter crash isn’t known at this time, as the investigation is ongoing. However, multiple reports have claimed that foggy weather may have played a factor.
Continue to check back at HollywoodLife for more updates about this developing story. Our thoughts are with the Bryant family, as well as the other families impacted by this horrific tragedy.