Jimmy Fallon Recalls Going on Beer Run With Teenage Kobe Bryant During Tearful 'Tonight Show' Monologue

Late night host Jimmy Fallon ended Monday's The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon by paying special tribute to late NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash just a day earlier alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. As Bryant's death sent shockwaves across the world, Fallon joined his fellow talk show hosts in mourning, recalling a beer run he and Bryant had made years ago.

"Kobe was such a life force, so strong and creative and inspired that in my head I thought that he would live forever," Fallon began the touching segment, going on to reveal that he and Bryant had met at a party when he was 21 and the basketball star was 17.

"He was a rookie on the Lakers and I was just starting out on the comedy scene in LA," he said. "We were at a party and we didn't know anyone at the party, so we just started talking. I said, 'Hey what do you do?' and he said 'I play basketball' and I go 'Where?' and he goes 'For the Lakers.' I go 'Wow.'"

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"We just got along, we hit it off," Fallon continued. "He was telling me he was into poetry. I met his sister. Then the guy that was having the party said, 'Hey guys who wants to make a beer run?' and Kobe wasn't drinking he was 17, so he goes 'I'll do it, Jimmy you want to come?'"

"We drive down Sunset Boulevard, to this place called Pink Dot. So, I go in and I open the door and it's locked and the guy goes 'Sorry, I can't sell you anything.' And I go, 'We just want to get the beer right there' and he's like 'Yeah, I can't do that. That's not how this place works. We're delivery only,'" he recalled. "Kobe then takes out his ID and puts it up against the glass and he goes 'I'm a Laker' and the guy opened the door and we walked away with 5 cases of beer and we saved the party."

According to Fallon, as Bryant's career in the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers continued to skyrocket, they would still run into each other and "laugh about the night we first met."

"We'd laugh at all the good things that happened since and we'd laugh at how much fun it was to raise kids," he said through tears, pausing to compose himself. "Kobe had 4 daughters and I had 2 daughters and today he and one of his daughters are gone."


"Let's honor Kobe, Gianna and the other lives lost," Fallon concluded. "Love your family, love your teammates and outwork everyone else in the gym. To Vanessa and all those affected by this tragedy, we love you and we'll always be there for all of you. Kobe, when we meet again, we're going on a beer run."

Along with Bryant and Gianna, the other victims of the crash include John Altobelli, his wife Keri Altobelli, and their daughter Alyssa Altobelli; Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton Chester; Christina Mauser; and pilot Ara Zobayan.