Among the influences on Kobe Bryant ‘s remarkable life were images such as Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and Michael Jackson.
From the surprise phone call of the King of Pop to teenager Bryant to his continued words of wisdom for the NBA star, Jackson left a lasting impression. Like many who met the late singer, Bryant had his own share of Michael Jackson’s stories to tell, and one of his memories included his future wife, Vanessa.
Michael Jackson was a friend and mentor to Kobe Bryant
In an old interview with Real HBO fun, Bryant spoke of the time Jackson named him when he was a rookie on the Lakers and encouraged him to be himself, despite those who complained that he was too intrtrted.
Bryant often cited Jackson’s work ethic as an example of what he contributed to his court game. He once told Jimmy Kimmel that Jackson showed him how to make music and train for concerts by examining his predecessors. “I thought I was working hard until I met him,” Bryant said.
He also shared a story about hanging out with Jackson at Neverland Ranch. They did the zoo, watched movies in the Jackson theater, and had dinner, but was surprised by the on-site gas station.
And Bryant repeatedly declared Jackson to be a generous, kind and funny man. He also gave Bryant books and films to learn from, including Jonathan Livingston was relieved by Richard Bach.
At that point Michael Jackson offered his runway to Kobe Bryant
Shortly after Jackson’s death in 2009, Time the magazine thanked Bryant and several other celebrities for a feature piece “Remembering Michael”. The late basketball player had won the NBA Finals MVP award about two weeks earlier and talked happily about his friend.
“As well as sex, he was just a really nice guy. It made me grab movies that I don’t usually watch. Fred Astaire Movies. The old classes. I would never look at that, ”said Bryant.
He said Jackson made a nice offer for himself and then his girlfriend, Vanessa Laine.
“I remember my girlfriend and I tell him we were getting married, and he was just excited and just offering up the ranch for our wedding there, because privacy was going to be an issue. We wanted to get married in a church, so that’s what we did. But he made the offer. He was just a really nice guy who was super bright, super bright, and directed and talented. You mix those things together, man, you have Michael Jackson. ”
Bryant married his wife in 2001
Kobe and Vanessa Bryant tied the knot at St. Edward the Adventist Catholic Church in 2001. The couple had been together for 20 years before Bryant died in January.
It is not clear if Jackson was present at the service, but Bryant said ESPN that the phone call he received from the singer during his rookie year changed his life. “Michael Jackson is probably the greatest mentor I’ve ever been to. That phone call at Gold’s Gym literally changed my life, ”said Bryant.