Dave Chappelle has opened up about his silent connection to the late Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant.
This year didn’t start well for the sporting world. On Jan. 26, Lakers icon Kobe was killed, together with daughter Gianna, in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. Millions mourned his death around the world, and Chappelle was one of those who were genuinely devastated when Bryant died.
In his recent special “8:46” (shared on YouTube channel Netflix is A Joke), Chappelle focused on everything that is currently happening in the U.S. His topics included racial issues, police brutality and the protests that have spread to other countries from America. But the 46-year-old standup comedian also talked about how Bryant’s death still wrecks him inside even to this day.
According to Chappelle, he felt that Bryant once saved the U.S. from possibly being doomed. Chappelle recalled that the NBA star gave him and the country something to feel affectionate about at a time when horrible scenario was happening – Bryant’s last game as a Laker.
“The night, those nine police officers were killed felt like the end of the world. And the only reason it wasn’t the end of the world, in my opinion, was at the very same time that was happening Kobe Bryant was playing his last game as an LA Laker. I kept flipping back as Kobe was dropping 60. And he did. I saw him dribbling and saving this goddamn country from itself,” Chappelle shared.
This could also be the first time Chappelle had revealed the reason why he didn’t attend this year’s Grammys. The award-winning comedian said that he was so ruined when Bryant died that he wasn’t able to celebrate anything. And making things even harder for Chappelle was the fact that Bryant’s jersey numbers “8 and 24” are also the exact date of his birthday, Aug. 24, 1973.
“I loved Kobe Bryant. Died the day I won a Grammy, he died. That’s why I didn’t show up at the Grammy’s because Kobe died. They had both of his f*ckin’ jersey numbers hanging up. Eight. Twenty-four. That’s my birthday. I cried like a baby,” Chappelle revealed.
After professional basketball, Bryant started pursuing a writing career. He developed a new passion in writing, and shortly after he died, some of the books he has written surged in popularity.