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RIP, Kobe Bryant (1978–2020) | The Bill Simmons Podcast

2020-01-26

HBO and The Ringer's Bill Simmons and Chris Ryan remember the life of Kobe Bryant.

This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
All right we're taking this on a Sunday afternoon where, in Utah, I am here with Chris Ryan, we're doing some stuff for Sundance and unexpectedly and tragically, this is the saddest time. Did they ever Kobe Bryant passed away. Helicopter crash saudi princes when you watch the tv- and it says the Kobe Bryant, one thousand nine hundred and seventy eight to twenty twenty is just like what How is going on? I hate I can't other than magic getting HIV. I can't remember being the shocked by anything that happened in sports and obviously this is worse. Cuz Kobe passed away, but. Press were I mean what are we were even start, yeah an end
You sound like six by stomach over this. It's it's somebody that has just taxing with them. It grew more to why do the power than he actually put it bessys angry size, entire life like he is the definitive player of like my adult life, I've. I watched him from right when I graduated high school on till right, when I moved to LOS Angeles and it's you even before his mba career, you had an awareness of him coming into the league. He felt like this kind of like prodigal figure, and it's just I it's hard to make sense of it are to make sense of the loss of life. It's just such a tragic, tragic incident with his daughter and with his daughter, see maiden and their pay,
on the point, a helicopter, it's just so awful. I had the same thought about the Phillip we ve known him probably started here about avenues: maybe a junior, nice, Galicia and his entire career, spanned, basically the entire internet and out intersected with basketball and all these different ways. But you think, like he joints, league ninety six, that's right when most people have a email and then hits all these checkpoints said his part up, you're Talkin, about early internet, then you're talking about early disease, Pinta com and although sites then you tube in two thousand Saxon and Twitter comes and Instagram and he's every step of the way and becomes the defining eye of his generation and one of the top ten pairs of our time- and I think you know the obviously I've a fourteen year old
In the end, that part really hits on artists for maize, with his thirteen, your daughter that he was close to guess at Games laws stuff, but I was really issue to see what was going to happen next, forty years, his life I sailing last night, I have the sound decisions on an inappropriate, but last nay a bunch of us were out for dinner and and the six thousand acres of plate earlier em. We read this bar and the and sports at urged come on, and I was like a kind of show Sixers liquors, highly package, Instead, they lead with a package of Leubronn passing Kogi yeah, like I can't believe this guy for forty years making meeting that is somehow Gisela blocking the sixth.
Whenever out from their from their moment the spotlight. But that was a thing about Kogi. He he engaged you're an emotional level. The wailing very few athletes do at you can respect athletes. You could fear athletes, you can hit athletes coolby had the ability to turn all of those motions at me like I lost him by respected. Am I loved him? I hated me I like that I think, is just such a rare quality in not only in athletes but in any kind of public figure. And I think, as we look at wherever his life was gonna Gowan now I'll never know, but he we this ability to stick around and stay relevant when as in plain that is really hard thing to do, because, as I like, he was my name be a countdown or on the inside the SBA showers, the fight that he really was determined to forge his own way and even the tv thing that he did. That was a detail,
he has been plaza because he wanted you to pull studio should really wanted to do this whole thing that he conceived himself and You know he just didn't want to do a commercial that he was starting a. It seems like he was flying to them about academy. This Yak Academy start in thousand oaks, but he was doing all this stuff right. He's making content he's, making open podcast. I just I just thought he was releasing. I didn't necessarily think all of was you know, was working in the best way, but Oliver was found. In any kind of cool that he was doing it and now it's it's just its. It feels like a crater. He'S- is watching him over. For the last twenty some odd years, it was really
I felt like you were living here watching somebody who is very aware of the story that they're writing like yeah, Post Jordan Player and he was playing in a world where he was like. I have to be better than this guy or I have to everything I do has to match what this guy did and that's really what we want from our public figures that are athletes has to like. Have this sense of historical significance in contacts like they are telling the next chapter of a story and yeah right like we definitely had some laughs at the expense of the detail like for sure, but he always was a really always march to the beat of his own drum like he always did what he wanted to do and he was never kind of ashamed of who he was and because of things that were in his head and mean everything from the way he would kind of like be pretty open about the fact that he spoke several languages for the way that he would dress the way he dresses
He talked to a doctor the way he thought about the game in ways that we're like almost corny. You know like, don't you get so seriously? Do you know? I think that I often rub people the wrong way and it was. It was a really single minded pursue of excellence, and it was interesting because, like in the last couple of years, it felt like all that competitive energy and all this stuff they put into being the best basketball player- he could possibly be it being the greatest championing a possibly be, was getting dispersed. Goin all these different directions in the you know at all. I think that one of them, the most touching things was, it was obviously was putting a lot of energy and thoughtfulness in care and attention into being a father which was really as a public figure was pretty moving. He started to think about is impact in his legacy. I feel like when, when they Casal, and they are trying to make the final lesson in you know he was able to make fine Austria's irwines to titles, and it seemed like her
in two thousand ten eleven ash. He started to give more himself out there and to try to change the narrative of what his grew us and to reach out to other people who at influence whether it was reporters or com. There are people on tv and he became much more accessible. I remember ye, I don't have enough ever told the story. He I wrote this piece about leadership and, though Russell think when I was, I can't answer Manette Minnesota, it's like the two thousand twelve thirteen season, two grantline area. You know the story every time, sir. I don't know- and I had this text on a Friday night and it was like AIDS cobia on the torch in my car hire bullshit rain, and this logical, something the airlines and stop
some number. I recognise and ends. I gotta know Cobain his eye and he had some response at our executive Hasbro. Something like, of course, it's me you. Seven decades or somebody not a high and my wife and I were about to go at. I think some, my Christmas party Valentine's day party or something and any cod anyone or talk by leadership because He was obsessed with that and he had been reading all these different books and he was really interested in Bill Russell and we're not talking for, like twenty twenty five thirty minutes ago, and I had never thought of my life and to appoint. And he had all these thoughts about the guise of the Dutch and the younger guys like the Katy Westpark generation, things like that, and we need to talk and then couple weeks later, I texted him like hey. I want to write about our conversation, as I really think people think it's interesting and he was like no. That was off the record. You'll, never right about that
there was a guy who the hell is it I respected it, but I think he was one of those guys he was in constant search of information philosophy. He talk to all types of people from all types of by major sports, but business. He was one of the first athletes who really dove into the whole business sign and talk to all types of people, types of thinkers, and if you are really curious Guy- and I think I I think that all come out over the next few days is the matter- people that he knew and talked in kind of which had to get information from yeah. It's interesting as like were were according to us right now. I'm word were not allayed by I can see from my twitter feed and taxing with people like this is gonna, be a pretty significant loss for the LOS Angeles.
Me. I don't think I understood that even as a philadelphian like I didn't, I didn't really understand cobia kind of iconic status. The way I think I will now and either Emmy I obviously have since I moved to LOS Angeles, but you care really under state that there were. You can't describe it to the people as thing I felt the same way. I moved there, no two and Isaac with what is he is so beloved. I've never seen and we are bigger than the Lakers. You know anymore. There are people for their people were Kogi fans, not Lakers fence one, I think after He had the the Colorado thing in. Nationally became ill in some ways, and I think it definitely definitely into an US versus versus that they would take, and he was was guy from that point on where it was like awkward now. This is our guy we're not giving up on this one and then, as his career started, to turn they loved him. The most and you know that the copy verses magic thing- I don't- I wasn't here and magic play and I think they love magic, the same way as a aware,
the cubby thing resonated in it- felt like a more profoundly yeah- I mean he was later Messiah down. You don't because I really was, I think he was someone that for the first time since magic- and maybe it's in the same way the same way we talking about how could be understood, greatness in a post, shorten era, cobia understood, Laker Domino, Post, magic air, like he understood what that could mean to be a Laker, adapt Champion Laker, and I think that he was a very fierce protector of those values, seated sometimes to the detriment of the workers themselves out. Imagine you, but what saw himself as completely intertwined with the Lakers legacy, and, as you know, it's it's. It's such a crazy story to think about this kid who I mean you would probably remember this better than I was out of stone, high school, but like the way he basically,
lots, of course, to the Lakers. Instead of the Hornets forehead Hornets trading, that draft Pickford, divulge and device does give devices they threatened to retire. Member that you like, and that all thing in, but there's everything you read about Toby from from that I've, even though it's not very long ago, it feels like you're watching a western or reading a comic book. You know I could be destroyed, Michael Cooper and work out. Yeah Coolby, you know being terrible in his first play officer whatever in adjusting all these stories that, like they don't feel like you're like reading about the men like any kind of like contemporary setting, they feel like they're, almost like a superhero origin story or something that was the first year at Mount website. He was because his second year, which
is break out here and he was just eight. You know he's in there and sows Iverson. It fills in Jordan. You can start to see the tell in his career and you could feel are at there's, there's really something here here. I don't know if this is the next M J, but ever all the people there Barbara like this might be the guiding? And there are these little checked by moments in him. He got voted into the asked our game and then he got there Jane the Astor game, and I remember there was a Lakers Balls national game and it was all about. Could this could be the successor, we're looking for an you know it was up and down the next couple years in a really wasn't until game for the two thousand finals against Indiana Shack, vows out, Kobe takes over and over time, and they were like yes, and then the next. You know a year's pretty pretty tumultuous, and
when some titles he shoots himself, out of attire. Oh yes, I'm off cord stuff and for the kind of basque by them love tee. I was like I didn't like the direction of the hero boss there, and I really you know I was really protect of the old way applying and isolate around the southern fit all that stuff. So looking for any reason to go a glass half empty, unsure ever gonna cobia, he's good and it wasn't until after all, my book I started doing more media staff and doing countdown and just talking our athletes are really realise, like I needed to really understand ass bomb. I wanna talk to as many people as possible time people my pie cast. And over an overall same thing, his peers and the people that came before him really respect him a really fat like he, was one of the best guys in and at some point I just realise, like man, I'm just looking at this one. This is an alphabet
Yeah was everybody who goes against him is like this is either deepest forever. Pirates are one of the best ways of avoiding it ain t. In did you see it today in the tributes which are just starting to trickle out really by one thing in my experience suggests since I moved to allay and covering legal, that more professionally is like the people who love Kobe, the most or other players and death, play something yeah and yea, not only because I think that you know he obviously had his rivalries and his conflicts with other players, but especially for younger generation of players. I think they looked up to him like a god, you know, and he actually was free benevolent with his time and his sort of advice and is Ed Eneos, it probably in some ways in a kind of you know like condescending way like yours, would you have to do young by earlier? I think, like you see like guys a tree young and John ran like pretty young deeds warlike, will those are two generations room of the accusation that the railway
regeneration were like the sons of goby, yes, and he gets them with them in a way into took two thousand twelve in the Olympics. And is able and already has a profound effect on way in the brain and bashing Carmel? If you go back and Look at all their stats, I'm doing this off tat Madame the o, eight or nine season after they play within the Olympics. All them have the best years of their career, naked, say par. That had to be there there maturing in their hitting the point where you're hitting your mba prime right, but, on the other hand, the stuff they learn, and never talked about it. The work ethic he had he wishes that hold their level than they were in. I think of them realise oh shit, yeah you can. I get so far by being yeah. Oh, so that's what I have to do. So you pass out along and then- and I think he had the biggest impact on Wade yet has weighed had by far the best service credit next year, but am and then in two thousand for the same thing: that's a younger team. That's all
again: Thereas Leubronn, the rat Westbrook Chris Paul. Damn lambs every dollar imagine it would die that all generation and Kobe at that point jeez, I is, and the man charities when five titles these past his prime his settled into this old school gunslingers version of himself and was just on another level. I don't even think you stayed the same hotel with those guys cause. He was leg just more fit everybody here, in his letter team at the broad whereby he receives the guy and he was the guy. I think it's really Now the measuring stick guys in the NBA words like you're, trying to make it an leubronn, became that guy Right Kobe gave Cobby pass the torch to Leubronn, and now it's like everybody's trying to get by Leubronn many became the curries worries team circle here's an hour and there's no man's land. The league, where there's natural, the who who'd you measure self against a guess. Leubronn yeah
call me was that guy for a long time, and I was what he really wanted to he wanted that for years. He wanted to be that guy, thereby worth anything. Then that's what makes the powder Sol championships in some ways, maybe not more impressive than the three peace, but it is certainly a testament to his drive to recreate a team after shack in two thousand? The second title he won with Gaza is the impressive title, because he's pretty banged up down when you know and they, both of those years, he was just playing a ton of minutes so you pay the weight on their backs and frustrate finals all that stuff and was also out at a point. His career like you think, about Dwyane Wade who, if you match up Wade, vs Kobe Kobe, ad, the more titles cuz he's with Shaq, but the first like I don't know, eight years of their. Pretty pretty similar yeah throughout the first to hope. Kobe precise clears unthinkable.
Was able to just maintain a prime for another five years because he had like come by any anyway. Did this too, but he was able to create a completely new imaging, self and wait wait couldn't totally due at the I was. It was hard for him to turn and we like heat eleven twelve profit, thousand Levin was his last year where he was like a top three for a guy. And then he started a because that's what and when you ve been in the NBA for ten years, Cobby reinvest, stop Oedo, one thousand nine hundred and eleven even twelve, and has this whole second act? And that's what, when I was doing my book and trying to figure out the stuff? That's what separates in historically. That's. Why he's a top ten player ever be of that second wave of Gazprom. It's like I don't know the war I mean. Maybe we well, but if the warriors couldn't do three PETE, I don't know if I ever see another team, do it yeah, which makes that those Lakers repeat so significant.
You lie is what are you saying that, beginning about how can be kind of like his plane grew in the NBA is pretty much also tracks alongside the air, the evolution of the internet and the emergence of the internet in the primary way we communicate consumer information, but those Lakers teams to me still have like that feels like a different sport. It felt like a different A different time you don't mean, like those Lakers deems felt like with Kobe, and yet I thought that that that felt like the way kids pry talk about the nineteen twenty seven Yankee minority me like I remember I remember the we're going to cut your heart out thing in the two thousand and one finals and just be like he means it is going to do it. Like you told a Sixers fan, we're going to cut your heart out at a Buddham at the all star game in Philly. Like years later, they hadn't forgiven him yell, and it was like that's that's what he's that was. That was what the kind of the kind of guy he was. He would tell his hometown fans.
I m- gonna, cut your heart out like that's the way he saw the game is it was a zero sum game. I remember eight finals celtics when that final corbies team dynamism lot of lad, ran manage sir there, like a guy shore and the south, explore the best in there. And they went game one as the PA, Pierce Wheelchair game and then gave to the south, are controlling all game, and I do in the soft tat man, I'm sorry, but I think we're up. Like I say we like among the TIM, I think we're up like fifteen seventeen point, some at the game, there's probably those fuss early. This is in Boston, public five. Six minutes left encourages Blocks in and just basically takes on our entire team, and I don't remember what the stats were, but I just remember the feeling I think I wrote a piece of bad at two
truly truly great where's, the feeling of being the building like the helplessness that sets and real economic add disguise, disguise diameter rule out. We cannot stop him. That's why I think over everything else, he's was so revered as a basque ballpark is so few guys could get to that specific point. Even the brine. It took Lebaron forever, really till the two thousand told Boston Game Sex. To get to appoint like that or examiners. Yeah rip everybody's heart out, I don't care than on the road and So when I began as a basketball player like I did they weirdly that's the game out. Remember first, then, I read the eighty one point eight and I was so weird. I watched my dad. That was surreal. Yet it was like his teammates. He was like a tennis. Pleroma sea had no teammates, it's just like I'm just doing this you're. Never given the bad. I remember him. I remember the not passing game, the Phoenix rate rang or not. Getting game. He had seen him. Sadly, I am not shooting so but the physics
here's, how bad mighty maids are watch this where it happens. When I let them cause, he knew he was not legal Wednesday night. It was like it was. This is serious. This is serious basketball player. Yeah. He had some of the more petulant moments. We had a big, though the fact that He was able to have that post. Prime second prime, it now bronze able to do a tailor. That's she just wouldn't allow anything after what like eight, I kind of like that. There is no point in comparing the two because its apples, oranges, but Leubronn has managed to find a second and somewhat. Third, maybe you can call surprised, but he managed to find at this through movement through like kind of never getting to honour in one place. If the, if the roster isn't working out, you can always engineer something cobia, obviously like there is trade demands and copies career. There was failed, super teams and copies career. There were break
simple these clear there are a lot of scandals, but he's the EU is a lake for life. Like me, he did that all in one team, which is kind of incomprehensible now and really Gatwick TAT, a full kick out of it too, think he pretty early on wanted to go down as the greatest like, wherever weather, That happened is a really good argument. I study magic. I simply magic was slightly better because we squares longer Karim was S leg forever, but wasn't on the lake are for the first half of his career. Basically. So. I think it there's no right answer basically pens on what you want, but I think Coolby, probably without a debate, memorable liquor ever later
beginning middle end of his career and how long it was and how many generations, across than you think, are the people that are so sad today. An age ranges of it, and you know you have twelve year olds who liked them just be, as of Youtube videos. Maybe it's the imply pages. They farmer to Graham and theirs. In time and they were never there as Skyful spirit and that's why I make it shows that more like prince yeah. It feels in any kind of you think about the people. I know that this is a completely useless. Trick, but there is something weird about when somebody passes into the one name: category Young, Prince Bobo, Kobe. Kobe that happen runaway yeah and die. This doesn't feel like something. That's scared, diversity and over anytime soon I'm kind of what I said at the top. There was the saddest NBA ever, which is true. It's in the running for sat a sports days ever they even like before report on as sport centre, they'd Stephen AD, and he just said
regional authorities the nearby Irena, like this guy was in a lot of people's lives and he was around to like you would see they Cobia was. It was at staples, he was there. A lot of events was analysed that he put his faded in. He was a pretty big ass, her for the game, probably with it all started Chicago, like I don't know for sure, but like you, he was, he was very present, seem like it was a big fixture in Lee right now, when you think he's gonna like. Are they get there, they're playing the raptors The rafters are playing, I think the dispersed or playing rinkitink. So we're doing this mid afternoon on a Sunday. I think, there's really been a sports down. There is work for the territory, yadda yadda, almost no, how it's gonna play out, but I could see the staple centre becoming play yet
but beyond a shrine. I don't even really know what to expect, and I don't know what to expect latest legacy days. Lakers is Tuesday right or its post beatin Athena played, I do I don't know what to expect in general with other stuff, and then you think you know I've been working on this. Basketball pottery been going backwards, going backwards, Emily Davenant through the stuff. In a century we added, we haven't, done Cobia Zodiac, but he's been in these different things I was in an unbelievable amount of just basketball history. Really, since two thousand, he was in one too, I think, use in seven files. She went against every relevant guy, the last twenty five years and add a bunch of different iconic moments in his name kept pomp popping up after, if you finish playing and now all that stuff is a completely different
you Know- and this happened in magic to imagine- didn't die in any one, but we are part of what was so horrible but a day and finding out that he had HIV was it reaches, was a death sentence and ninety ninety one, yes like out he's be dead in a year In a changed the way you remember those Laker things, fortunately, for US magic stuck around and is still healthy all these years later, It didn't have that shadow. When you watch as all games, you feel kind of weirder and I don't know how that party at an hour the inability to watch communist states. Now I saw a couple of my kind of on the front page of youtube- does are obviously getting smash right now. People are watching Laana stuff and I don't know what it's gonna be like to go revisit those games, because so much of those games there, The thing it was kind of cool about him was that they weren't museum pieces. They were really we Only one thing again he was Gunnar and he like would ye would trash talk people and he would boy people and you
but then the irony that what is one of the most memorable Kova games of six for twenty four year any stinks for three quarters in almost should some out of it and in the fourth quarter he writes the ship and makes it. But you know, there's a play. I just recently watch I came. There are three: somebody misses the Bob. Bounced out Kobe gets a rebalancing. The Fowler he's like exhausted, there's, probably forty seconds left. I do just that, I'm gonna the basket I am going. Through the sea of bodies as hard Can I make it decapitated care I'm getting a far better I still in Gaza and in that game, that's it free game to re watch cuz, it's really old school that basketballs different. Now that game is all about the six speed around the rim in the paint and just this battle is like football and Kobe just goes flying in there like a battering ram.
Unclear where there was a charger found gets the focus is Cobby was the right move? It was smart, but he goes flying in her. She wireless like like a locomotive yeah, and you know I just did to me- that's the best. The Basque must have farmer them is bad ass, yet a really good all around player and a reasonable for simile of Jordan. The EU is as good as Jordan, but he's closes. We're gonna get probably the air during the last thing and then we'll go khazar and want to keep this going to love. Is it still pretty fresh, but am I really feel bad for labour fence aid? You know sports. It's games it stupid. We we look at this all the time. I wonder why we give a shit in. Why were watch these random games
anywhere you watching you watching Philly Atlanta, ninety, better things you could do, but something fundamentally about these, the basque vice and watches games and day in day out. These people are in your life, and you know, I think, for the Laker fence he's the most popular later him versus magic at her now, but he's deftly up there and. You know that there just everyone the same. I don't, I don't even think, like four Boston athletes, I guess Brady, but in in fur, for us with the south. A probability bird but you know we had for eleven years, and then he moved Indiana and it wasn't like the car we think will be played two decades. He stayed away again. He goes to the games, it was a huge. I was he was gonna, be the gather, replace Nicholson in the seats of he's on his way on his way I don't really know that, just as Abbas offence,
now if we had an athlete quite like that that was so universally belong. To short, every city has something like that: whether its were borough, Clemente or Jerome Brown, or in only me, like everybody's, got somebody that they ve lost that debt, you figure you filling the sports landscape of your city was never the same after that. Maybe, but this is one where it feels like to sports. Landscape of every city will be the same after this I loved ridden gets them. I respect the now out of em had good interactions with them. Tat is interesting to talk to and really curious guy, and I thought I think, maybe that's something that a lot of people arising it was a genuinely interested in a lot of things and this day sucks communist
thanks for less than will. I will be back with some more pack ass. They are in the week. We just wanna get this one up in the book side: a Laker fans at their condolences to the brain family in the extended family and everybody that love them and we'll be back later in the week.
Transcript generated on 2020-04-21.