Today is the 43rd birthday of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, who, along with eight other individuals, including his daughter Gigi Bryant lost their lives in a helicopter accident last January.
However, on this day, numerous people worldwide remember Bryant for his accomplishment on and off the court. By sharing stories of their interactions, including NBA journalist Michael Tillery, who was on Clubhouse in the Sleepless in LA room, sharing numerous stories about the basketball legend.
“The benefit of having early LeBron James and middle of his career, Kobe Bryant is they understood at different times in their life about the importance of getting a good story to black reporters. So, their legacies could be written in an accurate way. That isn’t demeaning to them in any way,” said Tillery.
“So, they would walk down hallways with us as we would film them in Washington, DC from the locker room to the lobby where they get on the bus. LeBron in particular would close down the locker room after post game to speak to just us. There is video footage of this on Vimeo under my boy Anthony Gilbert with Kobe and LeBron. I have videos of wells, including one time when I asked him, who was the best athlete of all-time. This was at time Terrelle Pryor Sr was at Ohio State. LeBron spoke about Deion Sanders and a couple of other players.”
He added, “There were reporters from publications such as the Washington Post yelling, which outlet we were working for when they saw us talking to Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James or Dwight Howard. So, it was a great time for us because they made sure we were going to write not just in support of them in a public relations sense, but more an accurate for time sense. So, that is what they did for us and I am very fortunate to have that time with Kobe in his passing. So, happy birthday, Bean and we miss you good brother.”
If you are fortunate enough to gain access to NBA locker rooms today, this is no longer the case.
Tillery also shared that now James’ moves are more calculated when dealing with the media at this point of his career.
“When become a professional athlete and you are ambitious either about physical responsibilities or historical responsibilities regarding to sports. So, you move differently and your moves are more calculated and become definitively more conservative and this is what LeBron has done over time. A lot of black writers are critical of LeBron now because of that. However, I am not one of them because what he has given me and brethren over the years. Back then they allowed us access that does not exist anymore, unless you are Rachel Nichols, Stephen A Smith, and Chris Haynes.”
Rest In Peace, Kobe Bryant!