The day before he was killed in a helicopter crash, the NBA star Kobe Bryant told a young fan who asked him for a selfie that he would pose for a photo the next day.
Brady Smigiel, 13, approached Bryant on Saturday at the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, where Smigiel was playing in a basketball tournament and Bryant was coaching his daughter Gianna’s team, the New York Post reported.
“Kobe gave him knuckles, and Brady said he wasn’t in the mood to talk because they lost,” Brady’s mother, Dionne Smigiel, told the Post.
As Bryant walked past him, Brady snapped two blurry photos of Bryant, Dionne said. Wanting a better picture, Brady waited for Bryant by the exit of the academy until he left.
“He kind of stopped Kobe on his way out the door, and just said, ‘Can I get a picture with you now?'” his mother said.
“Are you playing in the tournament?” Bryant asked Brady.
When Brady said yes, Bryant replied, “I’ll get you a pic tomorrow.”
13yo Brady Smigiel took these selfies @MambaSportsHQ on Saturday. Brady says as #KobeBryant was leaving the training facility, he promised to take a picture w/him & his friends on Sunday. Hear from Brady & young athletes from Mamba Sports Academy. It reopened today. @CBSLA 6pm pic.twitter.com/tEQ2mCDoKx
— Rachel Kim (@CBSLARachel) January 30, 2020
Bryant was traveling to the academy on Sunday morning when his helicopter crashed, killing him, Gianna (known as Gigi), and seven others.
The crash happened at about 9:45 a.m. local time, in heavy fog conditions. The National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration are investigating the crash.