Ice Cube is one of the most iconic rappers of all-time, as he gained popularity with NWA in the late-80s and early-90s, and has since become influential in the hip hop world in so many ways. A legend in his own right, the rapper is one of the proudest people from Los Angeles, and is a regular at Los Angeles Lakers games — where he’s, naturally, developed friendships with some of the team’s superstars over the years.
One of those superstars was Kobe Bryant, who Ice Cube was actually trying to recruit to play in his BIG3 hoops league as recent as last year. While the Mamba refused the invite — instead focusing on his family and business ventures — the two remained close till the end. With the devastating helicopter accident that killed Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, and seven others the other day, Ice Cube talked about his reaction after getting texts from other people about the validity of the shocking news.
Like most people, once reports surfaced that Kobe Bryant’s helicopter had crashed and he tragically died, Ice Cube didn’t want to believe it. In fact, he was so skeptical (or just hopeful that it was a hoax), that he even texted Bryant to see if he’d reply in order to put the rumor to rest. As we know, there was no return text from the five-time NBA champ, and the legendary rapper emotionally described his feelings as a guest on ESPN’s The Jump after not hearing back.
When asked about who he first texted after hearing the news, Ice Cube went to one person: Bryant.
“Kobe,” he responded. “To see if he would hit me back. When I didn’t get it back, you don’t immediately start to worry because you know it’s Kobe. He always gets back sooner or later.”
“I just tossed and turned all night thinking about Vanessa, his daughters, his mother, his father and his sisters, Vanessa’s parents…just everybody in his immediate life who loved him and what they lost,” he continued. “I know what we lost as fans. Me personally, I don’t have too many heroes that’s younger than me and [he] was one of them. It’s profound.”
You can watch the video of the story below. It’s heartbreaking, to say the least.
Calling Bryant “some of the glue that holds LA together” during the interview, Ice Cube is visually torn apart; and with good reason. Not only did the world lose one of its biggest icons — who was more than just a great basketball player — but the rapper lost a friend who he’d become close with over the past two decades. It’s only natural that he’s in a state of shock like everyone else is.
Kobe Bryant’s impact during his 41 years was tremendous, and his legacy and good will will spread for decades. It’s impossible to think about what he, his daughter and those other passengers could have given in the subsequent years, though, which may be one of the most difficult parts about the tragedy. Forever, bless up.