In the span of seven months, two of the biggest names in the worlds of sports and entertainment tragically passed away. Basketball legend Kobe Bryant died in January at the age of 41. International film superstar Chadwick Boseman died in August at age 43. Both of their deaths stunned the world.
In one of Boseman’s final interviews, the actor, along with Patrick Mahomes, Trae Young, and several others talked about Kobe Bryant during an episode of LeBron James‘ HBO series The Shop: Uninterrupted. The actor detailed an encounter with Bryant in 2018 and how they discussed working together in 2020. Now, with Boseman’s death, that conversation between the two stars takes on a completely different meaning and it is beyond chilling.
Kobe Bryant’s death shocked Chadwick Boseman
On January 26, 2020, Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, along with seven others tragically died in a helicopter accident. Following Bryant’s death, movie superstar and “Black Panther” superhero Chadwick Boseman shared his stunned reaction.
“I’m heartbroken. Shocked. Husband, Father, Strategist, Philosopher-Poet, Warrior-Athlete, Filmmaker…your focus is magnetic, Kobe. My love goes out to you and your family.”
Just days later, former NBA player and Inside the NBA’s Kenny Smith, assembled an array of some of the biggest names in the world of entertainment, including Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, and Boseman for a video tribute to Bryant.
“Your life has meant so much to so many people,” Boseman says. “I can’t even put it into words how much because I didn’t even know how much it meant. I knew I loved Kobe but I didn’t know I loved him as much as I did.”
Chadwick Boseman’s death stunned world
Chadwick Boseman’s death on August 28 hit his worldwide audience with the same intensity of Bryant’s death seven months earlier. Even those who had worked with him in recent months had no clue he had been battling colon cancer for years.
Boseman’s connection with sports was undeniable. He made his film debut in the movie “The Express: The Ernie Davis Story,” which is the story of Syracuse University star Ernie Davis, who was the first African-American to win the Heisman Trophy.
Then he played the starring role as Jackie Robinson in “42,” which hit theaters in 2013 and turned him into a household name. His role in “Black Panther” turned him into an international superstar.
On Friday after Boseman’s death, Bryant’s 17-year-old daughter Natalia paid tribute to Boseman on her Instagram Story. “Rest in peace Wakanda forever,” she wrote, with a photo of her late father and Boseman at the Oscars in 2018.
Kobe Bryant and Boseman met in 2018 and made plans for 2020
At the 2018 Oscars, when Kobe Bryant won for his short film “Dear Basketball,” the basketball star/filmmaker met the international movie star for the first time. Boseman recalled the meeting in an episode of HBO’s The Shop: Uninterrupted, which aired in March, just a little over a month after Bryant’s death.
Boseman said the two hit it off at a party and were talking about philosophers and poetry because that’s who Bryant was.
“He was like, ‘This is what I’m into right now as an artist, not as a basketball player.’ We started talking about it, I’m like ‘Yo we should do something together. We should work on something. You would be an amazing producer.”
Boseman said after he said those words, he could see Bryant’s mind working right in front of him, applying the same type of focus he applied to basketball, but now as a producer and director.
“He looked up to me and I saw his eyes go in like he was meditating, like he was seeing and he said, ‘Two years.’ It’s like he saw the whole thing unfold and he was like, ‘I need two years.’ I walked away from him. I said to my fiancee, ‘Yo, he is who they say he is.'”
Two years later, and both men are tragically gone. While they never made the film they once talked about, it’s quite evident the impact each man had on the other, and more importantly the world.