Former NBA star Kobe Bryant has remained busy since his retirement from professional basketball in 2016.
From writing books and winning an Academy Award, to starting a children’s podcast, Kobe has been doing it all. That is, except for watching NBA basketball.
Kobe has rarely appeared at NBA games since hanging up his Los Angeles Lakers jersey four years ago. But this season, Kobe has been sitting courtside more than ever, and the 41-year-old says it’s all because of one person — his daughter, Gigi Bryant.
“You know what’s funny,” Kobe told former NBA players Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on the Showtime Basketball podcast All the Smoke this week. “Before Gigi got into basketball I hardly watched it, but now that’s she’s into basketball, we watch every night.”
Since 13-year-old Gigi has taken up her father’s sport, the two have been able to bond while watching the next generation of players.
“I mean every game,” Kobe said of his daughter’s viewing habits. “She watches everything!”
“She likes watching Trae Young a lot, she watched Luka Doncic a lot, she watches James Harden, she watches Russell Westbrook, I mean she watches [LeBron James],” Kobe said of Gigi’s favorite players.
He and Gigi attended at least two Lakers games before the start of the new year, and it was the first time Kobe had been to a game since his jerseys were retired at Staples Center in late 2017.
“When I took her to the Laker game, that’s the first Laker game I’ve been to I think since my jersey retirement,” the five-time NBA champion and father of four said on the podcast.
“We just had so much fun because it was the first time I was seeing the game through her eyes,” Kobe said of the experience with his daughter.
“It wasn’t me sitting there, you know, as an athlete or a player or something like that, and you know it’s like about me, and I don’t like that,” he added. “It was her, she was having such a good time.”
Kobe also opened up about his marriage to wife Vanessa Bryant, 37, during the podcast.
“We’ve seen couples that have been like 85 years old and you look and you’re like, ‘Oh man, such an old, sweet couple,’ and I’d go talk to them because I wanna know … ,” Kobe said. “One time a guy goes, ‘Yeah it’s great, but she just kicked me out of the bed last night, I was sleeping on the couch last two nights.’ “
“That’s all the beauty of it: having the persistence and determination to work through things — very, very tough things — and we’ve been able to do that,” he said.