Inside Beyoncé’s Longtime Friendship With Kobe Bryant

When Beyoncé took the stage during the Kobe and Gianna Bryant memorial service on Monday, some may have thought it was due to her celebrity status.

But it wasn’t about her putting on a show for those at the Staples Center or viewers watching at home. It was a moment for her to honor her dear friend and support his widow, Vanessa.

From the outside, it may seem like the relationship between Beyoncé and Jay-Z and the Bryants was forged from running in the same Hollywood circles. However, they are more than just famous acquaintances.

Vanessa and Kobe Bryant; Beyoncé and Jay-Z
Vanessa and Kobe Bryant; Beyoncé and Jay-Z | Getty Images/Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Beyoncé and Kobe Bryant were friends for decades

Back when Beyoncé was a rising teenage star as part of Destiny’s Child, Bryant was still an up-and-coming star player for the Lakers. At the time, he was also trying his hand at rapping and snagged an opportunity to hop on a remix for Destiny Child’s “Say My Name.”

That same year – 1999 – Bryant also appeared in the music video with the group for “Bug A Boo.” Little do some fans know that Destiny’s Child was also featured on his 2000 album, Visions, on a track called “Baby, Baby, Baby.” Sony never released his project.

Bryant even played ball with Beyoncé’s dad

In 2019, an old video surfaced of Bryant playing a quick game of one-on-one with Mathew Knowles, Beyoncé’s father and former manager of Destiny’s child. It happened while he was on set for the music video, and the girl group can be seen standing in the background.

After it went viral, Bryant shared the story behind the game and his friendship with the singers. During an interview with Fox News, he said he’d known Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland for a long time and was invited to be in the video.

Bryant added that their “careers were parallel tracking” and they were “kind of ascending at the same time.”

Kobe Bryant once took Gianna to meet Beyoncé

As people continue to remember Bryant, one of the things that keeps coming up is how much he loved being a parent. If you listen to some of his interviews, he’d often share tales about his daughters and their conversations, and the normal (and relatable) reactions he’d get when trying to teach them something.

Of course, there was his work ethic and Mamba Mentality. During a 2018 sit-down with Jimmy Kimmel, Bryant told a story about taking his girls to see Beyoncé backstage after one of her shows.

After greeting each other, he complimented her performance, and Beyoncé told him she learned from him. That gave him bragging rights!

The Carters and the Bryants hung out

Though both Beyoncé and Kobe Bryant essentially grew up in the spotlight at the same time, as married adults, they brought their spouses and families into the fold. Over the years, both couples attended weddings, charity events, and other social functions together, and clearly respected each other’s personal crafts.

Earlier this month, Jay-Z spoke during a panel at Columbia University and answered a question about Bryant, saying the loss of their friend has been very tough for him and Beyoncé.

In a tender moment during the memorial service, Beyoncé could be seen comforting a sobbing Vanessa Bryant by placing her hand on her shoulder. When it comes to genuine human bonds, the celebrity aspect doesn’t play a role.