Kobe Bryant always seemed to be cut from a different cloth than everyone else.
Over his NBA career, and well into his retirement, he was a guy that had the respect and attention of everyone in the room. After his death in 2020, we saw just how much he was loved, as the world rallied around his amazing life during a time of grief.
Even now, we're hearing stories of the way he impacted others both on and off the court. In a Q&A on Twitter, NBA legend Jamal Crawford told one of his favorite Kobe memories -- the time he stopped everything to catch Jamal play at a Pro-Am league.
“My favorite memory of Kobe was in the summer and we were both playing in the celebrity softball game in Seattle,” Crawford said. “We started talking. Kobe has this aura about him, by the way, where he could make superstars, not saying me, but I’ve seen superstars get nervous around him. He just stood out. He was something different. So we were at the softball game, and it was my pro-am game later on and I finally built up enough courage. I’m like ‘Kobe man, will you come watch me play tonight. Everybody thinks you’re coming anyways. Will you come?’
He said, ‘You’re playing.’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He said, ‘I’m coming.’ And somebody from Nike was like, ‘Nah, we gotta go back to LA, we gotta go.’ He said, ‘No, I’m going to watch Jamal play.’ He moved his plane back. He had him, his wife, his daughters, whole family come watch me play and I scored 63 points. And it wasn’t because of me. I’m telling you. I remember driving over like, ‘Damn, Kobe’s behind me in the car right now.’ I’m calling everybody like, ‘Get to the Pro-Am, Kobe’s coming!’ And so he had that aura about him and that was the dopest moment for me because he had every reason in the world to say, ‘No I’m not coming,’ or ‘I’ll do it another time, it’s last minute,’ and I would’ve totally understood, but the fact that he moved everything to come was unbelievable to me.”
Kobe was no doubt a very busy man. So for him to put everything on pause to watch a Pro-Am game for Crawford really speaks volumes to how down-to-earth and humble he really was.
As Jamal would go on to explain, he dropped 63 points that night, likely drawing in the power of Kobe's presence. All this time later, and it's a moment that has stuck with Mr. Crawford ever since. Pretty crazy stuff.