Basketball great Magic Johnson remembered Kobe Bryant in a touching interview on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live,’ where he shared that Kobe ‘would want us all to carry on and be great in our lives.’
Magic Johnson, 60, is the latest athlete to share his thoughts and memories of the departed Kobe Bryant. The former LA Laker point guard appeared on the Jan. 28 episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, where he insisted that he needed and wanted to be there for the interview. “You know, Kobe wouldn’t have wanted me to cancel,” Magic told host Jimmy Kimmel. “Kobe would want us all to carry on and be great in our lives. We should do something positive whether it’s making sure that we love our family or giving back to an organization in his name. We should do something great because he was such a great man,” he went on. And Magic insisted that Kobe’s greatness was all tied back to the basketball court.
“He was a great husband, great father, incredible basketball player,” he told Jimmy. But even Magic was truly touched by how long Kobe stayed devoted to the Lakers team. “For 20 years to wear the Laker purple and gold,” Magic said of Kobe’s devotion to his team. As Magic continued to recall every facet of Kobe’s legacy, Jimmy even pointed out that Magic and Kobe had each referred to the other as “the greatest Laker of all time.” To which Magic said, “Well, we both poured our heart and soul into performing every night in Los Angeles for the greatest fans on Earth. We both were committed to basketball…Every night you came to the Staples Center, you knew you were going to see something special, something great, something that you had never seen in your life. And that was Kobe Bryant.”
Magic’s tender interview comes as throngs of fans, athletes, and celebrities alike have saluted Kobe’s memory since his tragic passing on Jan. 26. Jennifer Lopez, Jack Nicholson, and Justin Timberlake are just a few of the names who have celebrated Kobe’s memory and offered support to the family he leaves behind. The night of Jan. 26 also turned into a memorial of sorts at the Staples Center in LA, where the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards were held. Performers like Lizzo, Run D.M.C., and more paid tribute to the former Laker who called the Staples Center his second home. And host Alicia Keys gave a stunning impromptu performance with Boyz II Men in Kobe’s memory.
The basketball icon lost his life at the age of 41 after being killed in a helicopter accident near Calabasas. Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant, also lost her life in the incident along with seven other civilians. Kobe and his daughter are survived by wife and mother Vanessa Bryant, 37, and sisters and daughters, Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and seven-month-old baby Capri.