ABC News reporter Adrienne Bankert recalled her interview with Kobe Bryant on Sunday. Bankert spoke with Bryant in 2018 when his memoir was released. She said that the NBA legend called writing his "true passion."
Bryant retired from the NBA in 2016, but his career did not end there. In 2018, he published his first book, The Mamba Mentality: How I Play. In an interview with Bankert, he admitted that the experience was life-changing for him.
"He told me that the one lesson he had learned after 20 years of playing professionally in the NBA was that he loved writing," Bankert recalled on Sunday while speaking at the So Northwest Women's Show.
"We were talking about his first book a few months back, and he found out that his first love was basketball but his true passion was writing," she went on. "And that he learned more compassion and empathy for his players after the league. I just loved hearing that from him."
Another of the panelists noted that the memoir was not Bryant's only venture into writing. They pointed to the short film Dear Basketball, which earned Bryant an Academy Award that same year.
"He ended up actually putting that into action and going on to win an Oscar for an animated feature as well. That's an amazing story," she said.
Bryant is also credited as a writer on 16 episodes of Detail, the 2018 basketball series in which he starred alongside Peyton Manning and Daniel Cormier.
Bryant also co-wrote several young adult novels through Granity Studios, titled The Wizenard Series: Training Camp, Legacy and the Queen, and Epoca: The Tree of Ecrof. He worked on a fourth novel, The Wizenard Series: Season One, which will be released next month.
Finally, Bryant was working on another children's book at the time of his death, collaborating with Brazilian author Paulo Coelho on a series meant to inspire underprivileged children. After Bryant's death, Coelho told The Associated Press that he deleted what work had been accomplished on the book so far.
"It didn't make any sense to publish without him," Coelho said. He did not reveal how far along the project was.
Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, Jan. 26 in Calabasas, California. The sports legend left family, friends and fans devastated by the wasted potential remaining in his post-NBA life. Last week, he was honored in a memorial called "A Celebration of Life."0comments
"God knew they couldn't be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to him together," Vanessa Bryant said of her late husband and daughter at the ceremony. "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."