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#pounditThursday, May 19, 2022

Ex-Kobe Bryant teammate shares story of seeing him again days before his death

Kobe Bryant

Tarik Black got to see Kobe Bryant one last time before Bryant’s tragic passing in January, and it is a memory that will stay with him forever.

Speaking this week with Matt Tait of, the former Los Angeles Lakers big man shared the story of his final encounter with Bryant, which happened just one week before Bryant’s death. Black, who had been playing professionally in Israel, suffered an injury that sent him back to Los Angeles earlier than normal, and he was able to see Bryant for the first time since they were teammates nearly four years earlier.

“I actually got a chance to thank him for what he meant for my life,” Black said. “And he just kept saying, ‘I’m proud of you.’ So it rocked me to my core when I heard about his passing.

“This is the thing that’s tough to admit, but I didn’t really like Kobe growing up,” Black added. “He seemed cocky, arrogant. But that’s a real testament to him as a man, that he could change my opinion of him like that. I love him now. I’ll appreciate him and everything he did for me for the rest of my life.”

Black was teammates with Bryant on the Lakers for Bryant’s last two seasons in the NBA from 2015 to 2016. He also shared what it was like to witness Bryant’s final career game against the Utah Jazz in the interview with Tait.

Black’s story is certainly a haunting one and also very similar to the encounter that another former Bryant teammate had with him around the same time.


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