Kobe Bryant: Tyra Banks Looks Back on First Time Meeting Lakers Legend and Their Shared Music Ambitions

Tyra Banks fondly recalled the first time she met Kobe Bryant in a new interview this week. On Wednesday, Banks appeared on Power 105.1's The Breakfast Club, where she reminded fans that she and Bryant had actually put out a song together. The blast from the past was welcome as fans continue to mourn Bryant.

Banks admitted that she had not been in touch with Bryant for years, estimating that it had been about a decade since she talked to him. Still, she said she still remembered all of her time with Bryant fondly, including their first meeting. At the time, he was just 17 years old, and a mutual friend asked her to clue Bryant in on life in Los Angeles.

"He sits on my couch and I just school him on LA - what to look out for and 'here's my number if you ever need anything,'" Banks recalled. "So to me whenever I saw him, I just saw that 17-year-old kid in my eyes."

Banks then recalled that she ran into Bryant at The Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Awards, while both of their careers were on the rise. Bryant was still hoping to break into the music industry at the time, so they decided to collaborate on a track. That song became "K.O.B.E."

Banks said that she "actually" still thinks "K.O.B.E." is "good," although she spoke with some hesitation. She admitted that she wishes she had not been chosen to do the "baby" voice in the chorus.

Banks and Bryant gave the premiere performance of "K.O.B.E." at the 2000 NBA All-Star Game. For the most part, the song has been relegated to the backburner of music history, but during the interview, DJ Envy decided to play it for old times' sake. Co-host Charlamagne Tha God did not support the idea.

"I don't think Kobe wants you to do that," Charlamagne suggested. "I think Kobe would not approve of this."

The interview was a welcome light-hearted moment after Bryant's somber memorial on Monday. About 20,000 people gathered at the Staples Center to honor Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, who passed away in a helicopter crash last month. Bryant's widow, Vanessa gave a heartbreaking eulogy.


"God knew they couldn't be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to him together," Vanessa said of her late husband and daughter. "Babe, you take care of our Gigi. And I got Nati, Bibi and Koko. We're still the best team. We love and miss you, Boo Boo and Gigi."

"May you both rest in peace and have fun in heaven until we meet again one day," she went on. "We love you both and miss you. Forever and always, Mommy."