The topic of their discussion was Bryant's daughter Gianna

By Ashley Boucher
February 05, 2020 10:53 PM
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JAY-Z is sharing one of the last moments he spent with NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who died on January 26 alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others in a tragic helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.

The rapper, 50, opened up about his relationship with Bryant on Tuesday night while speaking at Columbia University.

“So Kobe was a guy that looked up to me,” JAY-Z said, according to video shared by Roc Nation Sports.

JAY-Z added that he had hung out with Bryant “multiple times,” most recently celebrating New Year’s together at his house.

JAY-Z, Kobe Bryant
| Credit: Ray Amati/Getty Images

“He was just in the greatest space that I’ve seen him in,” the rapper said, adding that one of his last conversations with the Lakers player was about his daughter Gianna and her skill on the basketball court.

“One of the last things he said to me was, you’ve gotta see Gianna play basketball,” JAY-Z said. “And that was one of the most hurtful things, because he was so proud. And the look on his face was like — I looked at him and said, ‘Oh, she’s going to be the best female basketball player in the world.'”

“He was just so proud,” he said. “So that’s really a tough one.”

Vanessa and Kobe Bryant, Byoncé, JAY-Z
| Credit: Johnny Nunez/WireImage

“My wife and I took [their deaths] … really tough. That’s all I’ll say on that,” he concluded. “Just a great human being and was in a great space in his life.”

After the crash, Beyoncé shared throwback photos of both Kobe and Gianna on Instagram. Then last week, Beyoncé, 38, shared a photo of Bryant and Gianna, writing, “I will continue to diligently pray for your Queens. You are deeply missed beloved Kobe.”

Gianna and Kobe Bryant
| Credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

JAY-Z’s words echo several others who recalled conversations with Bryant about his talented daughter, both of whom were honored last Friday at the Lakers’ first game since the helicopter crash that also claimed the lives of John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli, Payton and Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan.

Since breaking her silence after the crash, Kobe’s wife Vanessa Bryant has shared several tributes on Instagram in memory of her husband and daughter.

On Wednesday night, she shared several videos from a memorial at Gianna’s school, writing alongside a photo of her No. 2 jersey, “My Gigi. I love you! I miss you. You’ve taught us all that no act of kindness is ever too small. Mommy is still and will ALWAYS be so proud of you mamacita. ❤️#2 ?.”