Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka honored Kobe Bryant with a heartfelt speech during Monday’s memorial at Staples Center.
Pelinka revealed that around 30 minutes before Bryant died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, he was in church when he received a text message from his friend. While he would normally ignore his texts during church, Pelinka said he had a feeling that he should look at his phone.
Bryant had texted Pelinka to ask if he knew a baseball agent based in southern California. The former Laker wanted to help secure an internship with the agent for the daughter of one of his friends. Around 10 a.m. PT, Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter crash in the hills of Calabasas. They were headed to a youth basketball game at Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy.
Pelinka said Bryant was trying to help the surviving daughter of John Altobelli, who coached baseball at Orange Coast College and also died in the crash.
“Kobe’s last human act was heroic. He wanted to use his platform to bless and shape a young girl’s future. Hasn’t Kobe done that for all of us?” said Pelinka, who used to be Bryant’s agent before becoming the Lakers GM in 2017.
The Lakers held a memorial for Kobe and Gianna Bryant on Monday, where Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal and Vanessa Bryant also delivered eulogies. Bryant spent all 20 years of his NBA career with the Lakers and led the team to five championships.