The rapper also revealed that he and Bryant engaged in a little banter about the Atlanta Hawks beating Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers team.
“Kobe pulled up to the studio one time when they were playing the Hawks,” T.I. explained. “He just walked in on my session, and we chopped it up a couple of hours. Had a conversation about the culture and technology of all things.”
“I remember saying to him, ‘Listen, I don’t want you to take this ass-whupping personally,’” he continued. “‘This ain’t about me and you. It’s just you gon’ have a different color jersey, and y’all the ones who gon’ have to walk home with the L tomorrow.’”
T.I. remembered Bryant laughing at his words and then asking him, “Do you need tickets?”
Bryant died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26. His 13-year-old daughter Gianna was also on the aircraft, as were seven other people. There was widespread mourning after the news spread, and a memorial was held for the victims at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 24.
Many others have told stories about Bryant since his passing, like Robert Horry, his former teammate, who talked about Bryant being an 18-year-old rookie.
“I was one of the guys [who were on the Lakers] when he was a rookie, and a lot of guys were upset at him because back then you could bring beer in the locker room, and when we got him on the team, it was, like, no more beer,” said Horry on ESPN in January.
Kendrick Perkins had a Bryant story as well that he also told in January on ESPN, which was about the first time they had a conversation. Bryant paid Perkins a huge compliment at the time, and it blew him away.
“I just wanted to tell you, man, it’s all respect,” Perkins said the late hoops legend told him. “You one of the best post defenders that I ever played against. I’m sitting back, like, ‘Dang, Kobe gave me a compliment.’ I walked up in the club like I was that dude.”
In regards to T.I.’s story, he revealed that the Hawks beat the Lakers after he and Bryant had that playful back-and-forth, much to his surprise.
“I never, ever thought that the Hawks was supposed to beat the Lakers,” admitted T.I. “Oddly enough, we beat them.”