Bryant’s helicopter came down in the hills around Los Angeles on 26 January last year, killing the former LA Lakers star along with his teenage daughter Gigi and seven others on board. Officials blamed the crash on pilot error.
He has made public their last messages to one another, in which they asked after each other’s families and teased each other on their coaching skills.
At midday on 8 December 2019, Bryant texted: “This tequila is awesome,” referring to Jordan’s Cincoro Tequila. “Thank you, my brother,” Jordan responded.
“Yes, sir. Family good?” Bryant wrote. “All good. Yours?” Jordan responded. “All good.”
Then, Jordan explained: “He was really into coaching Gigi, so I hit him up about that.”
“Happy holidays,” Jordan wrote.“And hope to catch up soon. Coach Kobe??!”
“I added that little crying-laughing emoji,” Jordan said.
“Ah, back at you, man,” Bryant said in his final words to Jordan. “Hey, coach, I’m sitting on the bench right now, and we’re blowing this team out. 45-8.”
“I just love that text,” Jordan said, “because it shows Kobe’s competitive nature.”
Jordan will present Bryant’s induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday evening.
It emerged on Wednesday that two Los Angeles County firefighters accused of taking pictures of Bryant’s helicopter crash scene have been notified that they would be fired and a third was given a suspension notice, according to a filing in a lawsuit brought by his widow.