While he was primarily known as an NBA champion before his untimely death, Bryant had a brief time in the 1990s when he was dabbling in a music career. The longtime Los Angeles Lakers player’s most familiar track as a musician, “K.O.B.E.” was released on his only studio album effort.
According to Uproxx, Banks sat down with The Breakfast Club and spoke to hosts Charlamagne Tha God and DJ Envy about how the song happened. The supermodel said that she and Bryant were close at the time, and the model was one of the first people Bryant met when he came to Los Angeles. As their careers became more prominent, Banks said that the athlete had shared his desire to work on his music.
“Kobe and I, we were at the Teen Choice Awards, and he was sitting behind me, and I was in front of him. […] He’s like, ‘What are you doing this summer?’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t know. Nothing, modeling. What are you doing?’ He’s like, ‘I’m cutting an album.’ I’m like, ‘You are? Are you serious?’ I was like, ‘I’ll do it,” Banks recalled.
Banks then shared that she was so excited about the possibility of working on the album that she opted to do it for free. This excited Bryant and she said they began working on the song in a studio a few days later. This team-up resulted in the NBA legend’s biggest hit, and the video shoot was where he met his wife and mother of his children, Vanessa Bryant.
“I remember he met his wife at the music video, I remember her at the music video and saw a little spark between them on the set of the music video,” Banks told the hosts.
Banks said during the discussion about the project that, in hindsight, it was one of her most memorable experiences with Bryant. She also said that she thought the only thing wrong with the song was that she was on it. At the time, Banks was only known as a supermodel, and neither she nor Bryant were taken seriously as musicians.
Eventually, both Bryant and Banks went on to do other business ventures. They both turned their business hats on, with the Lakers icon creating his Mamba and Mambacita Academy. Banks herself also executive produced shows like America’s Next Top Model in the early 2000s. The model is currently working on Modelland, which she has been promoting on social media and in interviews.
View this post on Instagram
At ModelLand, be discovered. Be you. Be bold. A place where we reject the beauty standards of yesterday, and show that fashion and #PHIierce are NOT restricted to one type of body or person. When you join us in our world of experiential theater, we teach you how to make every hallway a runway, every glance a #Smize, and prove that all eyes and cameras are on YOU. #ModelLand #beDiscovered