Usain Bolt, April Ross and Sue Bird shared memories about Kobe Bryant for the latest NBC Sports “Sports Uncovered” podcast published Thursday.
In “My favorite Kobe story,” some of Bryant’s peers and friends shared their favorite stories, some previously untold, about the basketball legend, one of nine people who died in a helicopter crash last January.
Bolt recalled meeting Bryant for the first time at an NBA All-Star Weekend.
Bird painted the picture of Bryant ripping out a picture of an NBA rival while at the 2008 Beijing Olympics for motivation.
Ross, a two-time Olympic beach volleyball medalist, said her favorite memory from her first Games in London in 2012 — aside from winning a silver medal — was meeting Bryant at the Opening Ceremony.
“I saw Kobe and thought there’s no way he’s going to talk to me,” she said on Sports Uncovered. “I went up though anyways and started a conversation and asked him a couple of questions. He took all the time in the world to talk to me like I was the most important person there. He made me feel like I was really a part of Team USA.”
Ross gained more admiration for Bryant, who later during the Games took his family to cheer Missy Franklin and the U.S. swimmers. Bryant also attended a 2008 Olympic beach volleyball match featuring Kerri Walsh Jennings and Misty May-Treanor and the 2016 U.S. Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Trials.
“He really paved the way for male athletes to take a big interest in female sports,” Ross said. “The fact that he has daughters that play was really important, and he was so interested in their success as athletes.”
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