Almost two weeks after Kobe Bryant and eight others tragically died in a helicopter crash, Mathew Knowles couldn’t help but gush over the late basketball player’s motivation. “Kobe Bryant was a part of music and videos with Destiny’s Child in the past,” Beyoncé’s 68-year-old father said on The Domenick Nati Show on Thursday, February 6. “I remember one time when he was probably about 22 years old, and it was Beyoncé’s — I think it was her first — her world tour — and Kobe called and said, ‘Mr. Knowles, can you get me a front-row seat?’ I said, ‘You just want one?’ He said, ‘Yes, I just want one.’”
However, Mathew was confused as to why the basketball player was interested in attending the musical performance solo in the first place. “And so, I saw him at the concert, I said, ‘Kobe, I am a little baffled. Why did you want to come to this concert?’ He said, ‘Well, I wanted to watch greatness, because I know I would learn from it.’ That is the kind of person he was. He was locked in on watching — not from a fan perspective, but what could he learn from that experience?”
Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, Payton Chester, 13, Alyssa Altobelli, 14, Keri Altobelli, 36, John Altobelli, 57, Christina Mauser, 38, Sarah Chester, 46, and Ara Zobayan, 50, were en route to Thousand Oaks on Sunday, January 26, for basketball practice at Bryant’s Mamba Academy, but they never made it there. Since then, celebrities and fans all over the world have posted tributes to Bryant — who is survived by his wife, Vanessa Bryant, and their three children: Natalia, Bianka and Capri — and the eight other victims.
Following the heartbreaking news, Beyoncé, 38, shared a photo of Bryant with his daughter on Instagram. “I will continue to diligently pray for your Queens,” she wrote. “You are deeply missed beloved, Kobe.”
For his part, Jay-Z, 50, revealed his final conversation with Bryant while speaking at Columbia University. “He was last at my house on New Year’s, and he was just in the greatest space that I’ve seen him in,” he recalled. “One of the last things he said to me was, ‘You’ve got to see Gianna play basketball.’ And that was one of the most hurtful things because he was so proud.”
The Grammy Awards took place on the same day Bryant died — Sunday, January 26 — and the “Crazy in Love” singer and her husband were no-shows at the star-studded event. “Jay-Z and Beyoncé weren’t planning on attending the Grammys,” a source told In Touch exclusively. “Additionally, they are both heartbroken over Kobe and Gianna’s passing.”
Prior to Bryant’s untimely death, the power couple was with the former MVP at Diddy’s 50th birthday party. “They were hanging out with Vanessa and Kobe all night and have been close with them for many years. They are totally devastated,” the insider added.
At the end of the day, Bryant was a legend — on and off the court.
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