Kobe Bryant's relationship with his faith is being put in the spotlight after a resurfaced interview showed the NBA legend speaking about his spiritual life. Appearing on the Quite Frankly show, hosted by NBA analyst and radio host Stephen A. Smith, in 2006, Bryant reflected on his faith and how it helped him through a trying time in his life: the 2003 case in which a 19-year-old woman accused him of sexual assault.
Kobe Bryant 🔊🙏🏼
“Until you got to pick up that cross
that you can’t carry,
& He picks it up for you
& carries you & the cross,
then you know.” pic.twitter.com/xB9CKjScB4— Jaycob Ammerman (@Jammer2233) February 26, 2020
"God is great," Bryant answered when asked what he learned from the experience. "God is great. It doesn't get much simpler than that."
"Did you know that?" Smith asked. "I mean everyone knows that but the way you know it now, did you know it before that incident took place?"
"You can know it all you want, but until you have to pick up that cross that you can't carry and He picks it up for you and carries you and the cross, then you know," Bryant said.
Bryant's faith remained strong up until his death. According to multiple reports, the late Lakers star and his daughter Gianna attended a church service at the Cathedral of Our Lady Queen of the Angels in Newport Beach, California just hours before that fatal Jan. 26 helicopter crash. Speaking to ABC7, Father Steve Sallot said that Bryant was at the church before the 7 a.m. service.
"He was here before the 7 a.m. mass and that's our first mass of the day," Sallot said. "He would've obviously been in prayer chapel before that and he was leaving 10 [minutes] after 7."
"He just came and went quietly and prayed and gave his life to the Lord. And yesterday he had to give it back," Sallot added when speaking with reporters, according to ABC6.
"We shook hands, I saw that he had blessed himself because there was holy water on his forehead," he added of that morning. "So I knew that he went in the chapel and prayed, came out and blessed himself. We spoke for a minute, shook hands and off he went."
Sallot explained that he and Bryant had chatted for a few minutes before Bryant had to leave for the airport.
"Normally I don't really chat with him because as I said he would come in and leave quietly. And I respected that space for him," he said. "And yesterday I just happened to come in the same door as he was going out. And we call that 'the backhand of grace.' We got a moment for me that was grace. And hopefully, for him, it was as well."
Just hours later, Bryant, Gianna, and seven others were killed when the helicopter carrying them to a Mamba Sports Academy basketball game crashed into a Calabasas hillside. A celebration of life public memorial service was held for the victims on Monday at the Staples Center.