Kanye West Says Kobe Bryant 'Was the Basketball Version of Me'

Kanye West had a lot of respect for Kobe Bryant, and it led to them being very good friends. Bryant died in a helicopter crash with his daughter Gianna and seven other people in January, and West got a chance to reflect on Bryant's life when he talked to GQ. The story was released this week, but West was interviewed in February. One of the things that stood out was how he looked at the Los Angeles Lakers legend.

"Everyone in our life is now a member of the Lakers on one of Kobe’s championship teams," West said. "The way that Kobe would say that we all have to come together and win this championship is the way I look at life now. To an infinite, other level. This is a game-changer for me. He was the basketball version of me, and I was the rap version of him, and that’s facts! We got the commercials that prove it. No one else can say this. We came up at the same time, together. And now it’s like, yeah, I might have had a reputation for screaming about things—but I’m not taking any mess for an answer now. We’re about to build a paradigm shift for humanity. We ain’t playing with ’em. We bringing home the trophies."

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"One thing I thought was really amazing is that we were able to find a groove with the photographs today even as out of it as I was with the loss of Kobe," West added. "We were able to just go to the court and play ball. There's one street that I drive to go from either my office or my home to the property where the domes were built. So now there's no way for me not to be as determined as Kobe every time I drive down that street. It’s game time. There's no move that we can’t make, or that we’ll wait to make."

The West interview comes on the heels of Bryant being elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. Because of his death, it was decided he would be voted in immediately, but it was made official earlier this month. Bryant played for the Lakers from 1996-2016, and he led the team to five NBA titles in 10 years. He also was named to the All-Star team 18 times, and he was named MVP in 2008.