Jimmy was teary-eyed when he opened the show. He started by mentioning the helicopter accident that Kobe was in with his daughter, Gianna. He then went down memory lane and shared how he and Kobe met for the first time in Los Angeles.
Jimmy said that Kobe was “such a life force, so strong, and creative, and inspired.” He said he thought that the basketball legend would “live forever.” Jimmy revealed that he and Kobe met when they were just starting in their careers in the City of Angels — Kobe as a rookie on the Lakers at age 17 and Jimmy being very new to the comedy scene at 21.
Jimmy recalled that they first saw each other at a party. He shared that he didn’t know anybody there, and neither did Kobe, so the two started talking. The talk show host revealed that he and Kobe discussed their new careers back then and how they went on a “beer run” together.
Jimmy explained that the host of the party asked if somebody wanted to do a beer run. Then he mentioned that Kobe, being 17 at the time and not drinking, offered to go. So they got into the car together and drove down Sunset Boulevard and went to a place that Jimmy recalled looking like “7/11,” but was actually a delivery-only retailer that didn’t sell to individuals.
Jimmy remembers talking to the person in charge and being told that the big establishment was simply a distributor to smaller stores. Then he recalled Kobe stepping in and saying he was a “Laker.” The employee went back in and returned with five cases of beer for them, and that was how they saved the party.
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“Kobe went on to become a legend, five NBA titles, two Olympic Gold Medals, 18 All-Star appearances,” Jimmy explained.
He also said that not only was Kobe the most respected player in NBA history, but he was also the most brilliant.
Jimmy then shared that when he and Kobe would run into each other, they would always recall the night they met and would laugh about it. They would also remember all the good things that happened since, as well as their journey — the good and the bad — on how to be great dads to their kids.
Jimmy went on to honor Kobe, Gianna, and the other seven people who died in the horrific accident. He then sent his love to Kobe’s wife, Vanessa, and everyone else affected by the recent tragedy.