Kobe Bryant’s Final Text Messages Revealed at Memorial
A public memorial for Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant and seven others who died in a helicopter crash in California took place on Feb. 24. During the memorial service, held fittingly at The Staples Center, several moving speeches were made. Vanessa Bryant shared stories about her beloved daughter and husband, paying careful attention to share their loving spirits with the crowd. Michael Jordan and Shaquille O’Neal both spoke fondly of the father-daughter duo, too. One of the most moving speeches, however, came from Rob Pelinka, Bryant’s best friend and the general manager of the Los Angeles Lakers. In his speech, Pelinka revealed the last text messages that Bryant likely sent.
Bryant was making a connection for a friend right before he died
Bryant, in the moments before his death, was trying to help out a friend. According to Heavy, Bryant was texting back and forth with Pelinka, just minutes before his helicopter crashed into a hill in Calabasas. The conversation wasn’t just a friendly exchange though, Bryant was reaching out to help connect a family friend with a baseball internship.
Pelinka, who shared the information at the public memorial, noted that the text messages were sent while Bryant was actually in the air and that the last one came through just minutes before the copter crashed into the hillside. The person the two friends were discussing was Lexi Altobelli. Pelinka noted that Bryant vouched for her character and was excited to set her up with a potential internship with a baseball scout.
Lexi Altobelli is the daughter and sister of three of the crash victims
Lexi Altobelli’s name may sound familiar to those who have followed the crash closely. The 16-year-old lost her mother, Keri Altobelli, her father, John Altobelli, and her younger sister, Alyssa Altobelli, in the crash. The three were traveling with the Bryants and several others to a youth basketball game. The helicopter trip, which Bryant had taken many times before, was supposed to help the group circumvent traffic.
Jim Altobelli, 85, John Altobeli’s father, noted that Lexi, along with her brother, J.J. Altobelli, traveled together to identify the bodies of their parents and younger sister, according to The Sun. J.J., the family’s eldest child, is a scout for the Boston Red Sox. Prior to working as a scout for the Red Sox, J.J. played college baseball for the Oregon Ducks and went on to the minor leagues. The Boston Red Sox have organized a GoFundMe campaign to help the Altobelli’s as they grieve.
Pelinka’s anecdote highlighted Bryant’s giving spirit
Pelinka’s anecdote about the final words that he and Bryant shared paid homage to the all-star’s giving spirit. Bryant was heavily invested in charity work and has been praised as a mentor for young athletes. Several young NBA stars have shared stories about Bryant’s desire to show them the ropes and teach them how to progress both on and off the court.
Shareef O’Neal, the son of Shaquille O’Neal, looked at Bryant as a mentor, too. The younger O’Neal recently made the decision to leave UCLA in favor of LSU to play basketball. Bryant reached out to him hours before his death to make sure the young baller was doing alright. Shareef, who was forced to sit out an entire season at UCLA due to heart surgery, was set to see Bryant the day he perished in the crash.