MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A day after retired NBA star Kobe Bryant died in a California helicopter crash, Memphis’ own Justin Timberlake memorialized the legend on Instagram, recounting their years-long friendship that started when they were teenagers.
Timberlake writes that he watched Bryant’s career in awe, taking inspiration from him through ups and downs and using Bryant’s “Mamba Mentality” in his own career.
“As the years went by, I watched you do things that seemed humanly unimaginable,” writes Timberlake.
The Memphis-born musician says he admired Bryant not as “one of the greatest athletes ever” but as a person and father. Timberlake says their last conversation was about being fathers.
“That was, beyond all the things that we could do in this world, our true legacy,” writes Timberlake. “Who our children are and what beautiful people they will become.”
He said his heart is broken and his family is thinking and praying about the Bryant family and others who died in the crash.
“Your legacy is with us," writes Timberlake. "It’s our responsibility to pass it down now. I hope you I can continue to make you proud, Vino. Champ, MVP, Legend, Hero, Inspiration, Father, Friend. I’m gonna miss you, brother. Mamba forever.”
Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven other people died in the crash. The other victims include Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and daughter Alyssa; Christina Mauser, a basketball coach at a private elementary school; Sarah Chester and her daughter, Payton; and the pilot whose name authorities have yet to release.