Chadwick Boseman Previously Reflected on His Connection with Kobe Bryant: 'He Is Who They Say He Is'
“He’s not somebody that I was best friends with or that I knew really well,” Boseman said during an episode of HBO’s The Shop: Uninterrupted in March. “But the crazy thing is that in those four conversations, it felt like somebody that I knew really well.”
The Black Panther star revealed at the time that he and the NBA legend had discussed collaborating on a project together, but their plans were never able to come to fruition.
“The first time I saw him was before he won the Oscar,” Boseman said, referencing Bryant’s 2018 Academy Award for Best Animated Short. “It was crazy because we were sitting in the party talking about philosophy and poetry — that’s who he was. He was like, ‘This is what I’m into right now as an artist, not as a basketball player.’ ”
“We started talking about it, I'm like ‘Yo we should do something together,’ ” Boseman continued. “He was applying the same type of focus that he’s applied to basketball, as a producer or director, whatever.”
“He looked at me and I saw his eyes go in like he was meditating,” the actor added. “He looked up to me and he said, ‘Two years.’ It’s like he saw the whole thing unfold and he was like, ‘I need two years.’ And I walked away and I said to my fiancé, ‘Yo, he is who they say he is.’ ”
In February, Boseman took part in a special tribute to Bryant. NBA on TNT recreated iconic images of the Lakers icon featuring Boseman, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube and more.
On Friday, Bryant's eldest daughter Natalia paid tribute to Boseman on her Instagram Story. "Rest in peace Wakanda forever," the 17-year-old wrote, along with a photo of her late father with Boseman at the Oscars.
At the time of the 2018 Oscars, Boseman shared a photo of him posing with Bryant, writing on Twitter: “What an epic night. This man won an Oscar. #aboutlastnight.”
Two years later, when Bryant died, Boseman expressed his grief after news of the athlete's death was made public. “I’m heartbroken. Shocked. Husband, Father, Strategist, Philosopher-Poet, Warrior-Athlete, Filmmaker…” he wrote. “your focus is magnetic, Kobe. My love goes out to you and your family.”
“John Altobelli, Kerry Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Christina Mauser, Ara Zobayan, Gianna Bryant, Kobe Bryant,” he later added alongside another photo of the pair, honoring the names of all who were lost in the helicopter crash that killed Bryant.