Kanye West Opens Up About ‘Best Friend’ Kobe Bryant and His Death

Kobe Bryant’s tragic death sent shockwaves not only through the sports world but everywhere. One notable person who was touched by Bryant’s death was rap superstar Kanye West.

In a recent interview with GQ magazine, West lamented the loss of somebody he considered a friend. He got candid as he spoke about their friendship and the effect that Bryant’s death had on him. 

Kanye West and Kobe Bryant

West took over the rap world before he was even a household name. Producing beats for rap superstars such as Jay-Z, West’s name could be heard on countless hits before he ever recorded a verse or album.

It was his 2004 album, College Dropout, that changed everything. West had already overcome a lot at this point, including a car crash that nearly took his life and forced his jaw to be wired shut for weeks, but he was determined to get through it. 

After the release, however, West shot to fame as one of the loudest voices in hip hop. He was personal in his lyrics, which covered everything from love to religion, and with each ensuing album, his place in the DNA of hip hop grew more secure. West lived, breathed, and experienced music at a level that few had ever seen before. 

It makes sense, then, that the rapper would be friends with somebody like Bryant, whose work ethic was legendary by athletes and entertainers alike. He notoriously woke up as early as 4 AM to get shots in while also having interests outside of basketball that he made time for. When Bryant was taken from us, however, it left a void in West’s life that he spoke about in the days following. 

Coping with the tragedy

A classic commercial featured Bryant speaking to a group of people about what it took to have the Mamba mentality. He spoke about how greatness was never given but earned, and hard work would never reach perfection, but it would get you closer to it than you were before. Near the end of the commercial, one student, West, stands up and asks Kobe what to do if you are already great. 

This might best sum up both West and Bryant. Seeing that Bryant was no longer going to be there to help the world in basketball retirement, West was determined to use his death to ensure that he will only work harder in honor of his friend. 

“There’s no way for me not to be as determined as Kobe every time I drive down that street,” West said (per GQ). “It’s game time. There’s no move that we can’t make, or that we’ll wait to make. Everyone in our life is now a member of the Lakers on one of Kobe’s championship teams. The way that Kobe would say that we all have to come together and win this championship is the way I look at life now. To an infinite, other level.”

Kanye West compares himself to Kobe

Kanye West meets with US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington.
Kanye West | SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images

West went on to explain the similarities between them. With Bryant no longer with us, West feels that somebody needs to step up and show the things that made Bryant so popular among fans, friends, and even rivals. West sees it as a wake-up call for not only him but humanity as a whole.

“This is a game changer for me. He was the basketball version of me, and I was the rap version of him, and that’s facts!” West said (per GQ). “We got the commercials that prove it. No one else can say this. We came up at the same time, together. And now it’s like, yeah, I might have had a reputation for screaming about things—but I’m not taking any mess for an answer now. We’re about to build a paradigm shift for humanity.”

The world may never fully grasp what Bryant’s loss did to it, but West is hoping to change that by keeping the famous Mamba mentality alive. West, who is known for his eccentricities alongside his passion, is saying what many people have conveyed since Bryant’s death, proving that his impact goes far beyond the man himself.