Novelist Paulo Coelho says he's scrapping children's book he wrote with Kobe Bryant out of respect
However, Coelho didn't rule out "writing someday about things I learned from Kobe and how much of a larger than life person he was."
Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, known for his popular novel The Alchemist, says he’s scrapped the book he was working on with late basketball star Kobe Bryant out of respect. The former Laker, 41, died on Sunday in a helicopter crash, along with his daughter Gianna Maria Bryant and seven others.
Coelho announced the news via Twitter on Sunday, saying the project “has lost its reason” without Bryant’s involvement.
“You were more than a great player, dear Kobe Bryant. I learned a lot by interacting with you. Will delete the draft right now, this book has lost its reason,” Coelho tweeted.
He also shared an image of a text conversation with Bryant, who had messaged him in August 2019 saying, “Let’s [write] that book together.” Coelho responded, “Anytime.”
Coelho later told the Huffington Post that “it didn’t make any sense to publish without him. It wouldn’t add anything relevant to him or his family.”
Still, the 72-year-old doesn’t rule out future projects involving Bryant.
“That doesn’t stop me from writing someday about things I learned from Kobe and how much of a larger than life person he was,” Coelho said. “But the children’s book did not make sense anymore.”
Coelho said the two hadn’t communicated for months before Bryant sent him the message in August. He did not disclose how much of the book had been written or whether it had a title.
The book’s goal was to inspire underprivileged children to overcome adversity through sports, Coelho told the outlet. “Kobe was always very concerned about making a book that was a positive example for children, especially those coming from humble beginnings,” Coelho told HuffPo.
The Alchemist, first published in Portuguese in 1988, has sold over 65 million copies. Coelho’s latest book, Hippie, debuted in 2018. That same year, Bryant released his autobiography The Mamba Mentality: How I Play. Bryant’s Granity Studios, which released his Oscar-winning short Dear Basketball, also publishes novels for middle schoolers and young adults.
Coelho spoke to Bryant’s impact and how the star’s interests went far beyond athletics. “I saw him enough times to assure he had much more than sports on his mind, it wasn’t all about competition,” Coelho said. “His tragic death has shown already how he was important to the world, not only to the United States. We will discuss his legacy for many years, much beyond sport.”
EW has reached out to representatives for Coelho.