Talk show hosts from Ellen DeGeneres to Jimmy Fallon are dedicating their Monday programs to Kobe Bryant, 41, who died Sunday in a helicopter crash, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. Many also told anecdotes about Bryant and replayed his past interviews on their shows.
The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
Fallon got choked up during his monologue when he told a story about meeting Bryant for the first time when he was a 21-year-old standup comic and the Laker was just 17 and new to Los Angeles.
The two bonded at a party and went for a beer run. The store refused to sell them alcohol until Bryant flashed his ID and said, “I’m a Laker,” Fallon told his audience.
“And when we’d run into each other over the years, we’d laugh about that night that we first met,” Fallon added, on the verge of tears. “And we’d laugh at all the good things that happened since.”
Fallon, who then spoke to Bryant’s work ethic and love for his family, ended his story by saying, “Kobe, when we meet again, we’re going on a beer run.”
Jimmy Kimmel Live!
Kimmel also got emotional while introducing his 1-hour tribute to Bryant, who appeared on his show 15 times. The program shared some of Bryant’s best interview moments, including his final visit in September 2019.
“There’s no silver lining here. It’s all bad. It’s all sad. He was a bright light and that’s how I want to remember him,” Kimmel said at the top of the show.
Conan O’Brien talked about how important Bryant was to the city of Los Angeles and presented some of the highlights from his interview with the Lakers star.
“He was naturally very funny and charming, he really was. Terrific guest,” O’Brien recalled. “Whenever he was on our show, he was a joy to talk with and he always had the audience in the palm of his hands. That’s the guy I’ve been thinking about these past 24 hours.”
The Late Late Show with James Corden
Corden, who hails from England, said although basketball wasn’t huge in his home country, “there are some athletes that transcend their sport before you ever get a chance to see them play. And Bryant was one of those athletes.”
The View co-hosts, including Whoopi Goldberg and Sunny Hostin, remembered Bryant as a family man and a vocal champion of girls in sports. They spoke of his support for his daughter Gianna, herself a talented basketball player.
The Ellen DeGeneres Show
Earlier on Monday, DeGeneres teared up remembering Bryant, and reminded her viewers to celebrate life every day before it’s too late.
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