Jonah Hill shares emotional photo in tribute to Kobe Bryant and late brother Jordan Feldstein
On Thursday, the actor posted a photo to Instagram that in the past has been used for comedic memes but has taken on a new, emotional meaning now that the L.A. Lakers legend died in a helicopter crash on Sunday and Hill’s brother Feldstein — who took the photo — died back in 2017.
“This picture became a funny internet thing years back and it always made me laugh when I’d see memes of it,” Hill wrote in the caption. “I used to love ‘on purpose, very awkward photos’ whenever I was around someone I respected and this is about as comically awkward as it gets. Ah, your early 20s. It’s a dumb bit but I really liked it at the time.”
And while Hill says that he hesitated to post the photo “as it’s usually connected to humor,” he decided to share it because for him, “this photo represents a LOT more.”
“I’m sitting next to my brother and he’s taking this,” Hill says. “It was the night we both met Kobe and he was so nice to us. So funny, so amazing and so kind (in the middle of a game!). My brother and I grew up worshiping the Lakers and because of my job we got to sit next to Kobe and the whole team! I have lived a privileged life. Truly. We were literally buzzing with excitement to meet our hero and it’s one of my favorite memories ever. It’s my favorite memory with my brother. I’m sitting between Kobe and my brother and now they’re both gone.”
Hill continues, “I have been staring at this photo for days in disbelief and sadness and joy. It’s my favorite picture and I think it represents for me, all of the hard and amazing things in life and how fleeting they are. But their fleeting nature doesn’t make them any less beautiful. I’ve been thinking a lot about saying Rest In Peace and what that means. But I don’t think Kobe or my brother are resting. I think they’re hustling up there. Working hard and getting shit done. Cuz that’s what they do. All my love to the ones here left behind. Take care of each other and love each other. That’s the lesson I’ve learned.”
Retired basketball superstar and Oscar winner Bryant was one of nine people who died in the Jan. 26 helicopter crash in the city of Calabasas in Los Angeles County, just before 10 a.m. PT. It later emerged that his daughter Gianna was also on board. Along with Kobe and Gianna on the helicopter were Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri, and their daughter Alyssa, girls basketball coach Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton, and pilot Ara Zobayan. Investigators are still investigating to determine the cause of the crash.
Hill’s brother Feldstein (also the brother of Beanie Feldstein) was a music talent manager who worked with Maroon 5 throughout the band’s entire career and the CEO and founder of Career Artist Management (CAM), a leading management firm in Beverly Hills, California, that was recognized for being a proactive and energetic force in the entertainment industry. He passed away in December 2017 after suffering a heart attack and is survived by his two children.