On Monday morning, Kobe Bryant’s best friend and former agent, Rob Pelinka, opened up about their last conversation, just minutes before the basketball icon perished in a helicopter crash with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others.
On that fateful day, Kobe had reached out to Pelinka via text to ask if he knew of a baseball agent who could help the daughter of one of his friends secure an internship.
Pelinka told the star-studded crowd at Kobe’s public memorial, “I grabbed my phone and text Kobe back that I had seen the baseball agent at a Lakers game just the other night and was happy to help him with whatever he wanted.”
“It was now just past 9:30. Kobe texted back explaining his desire to help a friend of his secure a baseball agency internship for one of his young daughters. Kobe vouched for the girl’s character, intellect, and work ethic. He clearly wanted to champion a bright future for her,” Rob went on. “I text Kobe right back and said I would put a plan in motion to help get that done. A handful of minutes later, Kobe and Gianna and seven other beautiful souls ascended into heaven. Kobe had been texting me from the helicopter.”
Pelinka noted that Kobe was trying to “make people’s lives better all the way up until his final text.” He added, “Kobe’s last human act was heroic. He wanted to use his platform to bless and shape a young girl’s future. Hasn’t Kobe done that for all of us?”
Earlier in the day on his last day, Kobe had reached out to Shaquille O’Neal’s son Shareef, who recently announced that he was transferring out of UCLA.
At 8:19 a.m., Kobe DMed Shareef on Instagram, writing, “You good fam?”
Literally this morning you reached out to me ….😔 I love you forever unc❤️ I love you pic.twitter.com/3oVgvKKUkm
— Shareef O’Neal (@SSJreef) January 26, 2020
Before knowing of Kobe’s crash, which occurred around 9:45 a.m., Shareef responded back at 10:58 a.m., “Yeah! Just been getting this work in trying to figure out my next move,” adding, “How you been?”
Shareef shared a screengrab of their direct messages, tweeting, “Literally this morning you reached out to me… I love you forever unc. I love you.”
Bryant also spoke with Lakers superstar LeBron James, who had just surpassed him to become the third-highest point scorer in NBA history. LeBron wrote on Instagram, “Literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA.”