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Taylor Swift’s Special Connection With Kobe Bryant and His Family

Published 08/07/2023, 2:42 AM EDT

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Over the course of its decades-long run, the NBA has occasionally seen intermingling with the musical industry. While occasional NBA stars, ala Damian Lillard have gone over into a rapping career, usually the trend is the other way around. As the game becomes more global, more and more celebrities find ways to get associated with it. Perhaps no name is bigger in the musical industry over the past decade than Taylor Swift. Moreover, she has an incredible fascination with the game of basketball. Her biggest connection, though, lies with the late great Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers. Especially his daughters.

Sports and music are our two great unifiers. While there are tonnes of activities you can enjoy with friends and family, nothing brings together a crowd of strangers quite like a sporting or a musical event. Therefore, a crossover between the two is an ideal scenario for fans the world over.

How Did Kobe Bryant and Taylor Swift First Connect?

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The first time the two properly interacted was, in fact, a surprise for the pop culture icon. During her record-setting 16th sold-out show at the Staples Center in 2015, Swift received a surprise guest on stage. None other than Los Angeles’ favorite son, Kobe Bryant.

At that point in time, the Lakers had 16 championship banners hanging in the arena. So, the Black Mamba was there to celebrate Swift making history in Staples Center. Further, to commemorate the occasion, Bryant had a special gift for the 12-time Grammy Award winner.

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In typical Lakers fashion, Swift received her very own banner. The NBA legend even posted about it, captioning it, “Friends hang from time to time but banners hang forever.”

 

 

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Since then, the two got incredibly close. The lead singer of ‘Reputation‘ even forged a strong bond with his family. One, that resulted in the 5-time Champion complimenting her about it specifically.

Kobe Bryant’s 2019 interview: What words of admiration did he share about Taylor Swift?

When Bryant retired in 2016, it was one of the most surreal moments in sports history. A true artist, watching Kobe go to work on the basketball court was like watching a master brush his final strokes. So, it was no surprise to see the great one rise to the occasion one last time, even outperforming his longtime teammate Shaquille O’Neal‘s expectations. In attendance, however, was a close family friend, Taylor Swift.

As the years went on, Kobe too made the shift to mainstream media. In fact, he even won an Oscar for his short film, “Dear Basketball”. However, the seeds of inspiration came from none other than the international sensation.

On the Jordan Harbinger Show, Bean spoke about the impact Taylor had on his mentality. “I think it’s important to listen to people who do great things, you know? So it’s not just genre specific but it’s like, Taylor’s been at the top of the game for a very, very long time. How and why?” 

“How did she get into that mental space to be able to create things over and over and over? It’s a lot of pressure for her to follow up a number 1 album with a better album then follow with a better [album].” 

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To Kobe, it wasn’t a case of being a fan of her in general. The man synonymous with a mentality was in awe of her hard work. “I don’t care if you like her music or if you don’t like her music. Look at what she’s doing! It’s frightening. It’s unbelievable to be able to pull that off over and over and over. I look at things like that and try to learn from it as much as I can.”

For a man whose most defining trait was the killer gene, the Mamba mentality, Bryant had this to say about Swift. “You can’t have that level of consistent success and not be a killer, it’s impossible.” 

However, it wasn’t just her work ethic that drew Bryant to the pop star. More than that, it was her impressionability, and how quickly she’d taken to his daughters. The bond she developed with them further added to the admiration between the two.

“She’s a sweet kid. I mean, she was a sweetheart to my girls before she even blew up and became Taylor Swift. So that’s why I’ll always if she needs anything from me, I’m always there.”

To hear something so profound from a legend like Bryant is for sure a high symbol of respect. Moreover, the bond she shared with the family, just like the banner, became immortal. So, it was no surprise that Swift, like the rest of the world, was stunned, shocked, hurt, and sad on that fateful morning of January 26, 2020.

Taylor Swift’s Poignant Tribute to the NBA Legend Kobe Bryant in 2020

As reports of a possible pandemic raged on, the world suffered another blow. Kobe Bryant, just 41 years old, with a startling career as a writer, producer, actor, director, and maybe most importantly, father, ahead of him, was no more.

In a shocking helicopter crash in 2020, 7 others, Kobe and his eldest daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant had passed away. As the entire world mourned Kobe Bryant’s death, Swift joined the crowd. Taking to Twitter, she sent out a heartfelt message to the loved ones of Bean, ones she herself was incredibly close to.

The family returned the favor in kind. As Swift came back to the city of Angels for a show at the SoFi stadium, Vanessa Bryant was rocking a throwback. In a jean jacket with the immortal image of Kobe and Taylor sharing a stage, the Kobe’s family was ready to sing their hearts out.

After all, over the years, the entire family, especially Kobe Bryant’s daughters, has gotten extremely close to the Pennsylvania native.

Taylor Swift’s Bond with Kobe Bryant’s Daughters

Naturally, with the closeness to the family, came a direct born between Taylor Swift and his daughters. For these young women, the icon was a clear-cut inspiration and a role model. In fact, Natalia Bryant, now a model, even confirmed that Taylor was a huge inspiration for her.

I just love how she’s always, she’s very positive but she also empowers young girls and she empowers women, and I just think that’s so important in life. And she’s always been one of my biggest role models.” But, it’s not just been a one-way street.

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The youngster also got a surprise gift from her role model. As ‘Folklore’ was dominating the music industry, a true comeback for the multi-Platinum artist, Natalia shared a special cardigan that Swift had sent to her.

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Swifties will, of course, understand. Cardigan became a major memento during the peak of the album. In fact, the one gifted to Bryant was an exact replica of the one featured in the music videos. Natalia shared pictures of the same on her IG story, captioning it, “Thank you SO much @taylorswift…I am OBSESSED with ‘folklore’!!!”

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The Love Story between the singing sensation and Kobe Bryant and his family has only gotten stronger since then. No one will ever forget the iconic moment that took place just days ago. Stopping her concert in LA midway through, the singer ran to greet Bianka, Kobe’s youngest.

Vanessa captured the entire thing, sharing pictures of the moment, and even some from backstage. Taylor even handed over the hat she was wearing to the young kid. As the iconic verse from Wild Dreams, written on Vanessa’s jacket, goes, “Say you’ll remember me, ” there is no doubt that Bianka will indeed remember that moment.

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Written by:

Priyanshu

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Priyanshu Choudhary is an NBA Writer at Essentially Sports. Basketball has been his favorite sport for over a decade, and he has written close to 300 articles. If asked what he loves about the sport, Priyanshu would cite the technique, the breakdown, the ebb and flow and the theatrics that have endeared him since 2009.
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Edited by:

Pragya Vashisth