Ice Cube is opening up about Kobe Bryant's legacy following his death in a Calabasas, California helicopter crash late last month. Sitting down with Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart as they guest hosted The Ellen DeGeneres Show on Feb. 7, the rapper reflected on how Bryant, whose career in the NBA spanned two decades with the Los Angeles Lakers, "wanted to be even better" than the talents given to him.
"Man, what I loved about Kobe is that he wasn't just satisfied with God's given talents. He wanted to be even better than the talents that God gave him, and so that's amazing," the rapper said, according to Us Weekly. "That's an amazing person 'cause most people say, 'Look, I got these gifts. I'mma just kick back and just cruise.' And he showed you, no, you can always take it even further, and when you think you're at the top, you can take it even further."
"We loved Kobe's spirit more than anything," he added.
Bryant, 41, entered the NBA as the 16th overall pick by the Charlotte Hornets and was immediately traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for veteran center Vlade Diva. He played for the team for 20 years before retiring in 2016, becoming known as one of the NBA's all-time greats and being named an NBA All-Star 18 times being part of five championship teams
The basketball star died on Jan. 26 when his helicopter crashed into a hillside as the nine people aboard it traveled to the Mamba Sports Academy for a basketball game. There were no survivors.
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After news of his death broke, Ice Cube took to social media to react, writing in a tribute that he couldn't "believe that my hero and friend is gone too soon. I'm numb."
Later speaking with ESPN, Ice Cube called Bryant "the glue that holds LA together" and recalled the heartbreaking moment that he texted the NBA legend hoping to get a response after hearing of his passing.
"To see if he would hit me back," he said of the text, according to BET "When I didn't get it back, you don't immediately start to worry because you know it's Kobe. He always gets back sooner or later."
"I just tossed and turned all night thinking about Vanessa, his daughters, his mother, his father and his sisters, Vanessa's parents...just everybody in his immediate life who loved him and what they lost," he continued. "I know what we lost as fans. Me personally, I don't have too many heroes that's younger than me and [he] was one of them. It's profound."