The recent death of Kobe Bryant brought multiple talk show hosts to tears on Monday, several of whom honored the NBA legend with emotional personal anecdotes.
Bryant died on Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash that claimed nine lives, including that of Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. On Monday’s broadcast of The Tonight Show, host Jimmy Fallon opened with a story from his early years in Los Angeles, when he and Bryant — a 17-year-old rookie for the Lakers at the time — met at a house party and volunteered to go on a beer run.
The men ended up at a store called Pink Dot, which exclusively delivers food and alcohol to customers and doesn’t sell anything on the premises. But when Bryant held up his ID to the window, revealing that he played for the Lakers, “the guy opened the door, we walked out with five cases of beer, and we saved the party,” Fallon said, laughing in the video above.
“When we’d run into each other over the years, we’d laugh about that night that we first met,” Fallon continued, voice breaking. “We’d laugh at all the good things that had happened since, and we’d laugh about how much fun it was to raise kids, and all the stupid mistakes we’d made trying to figure out how to be good dads.”
He closed by remembering Bryant as someone who “rose to any challenge by digging deeper and getting back to work. So let’s honor Kobe, Gianna and the other lives that were lost yesterday by following his example… Kobe, when we meet again, we’re going on a beer run.”
Jimmy Kimmel was also among the hosts that remembered Bryant on Monday, dedicating his entire Live! episode (embedded below) to the basketball star as he replayed Bryant’s previous appearances on the show.
“There’s no silver lining here. It’s all bad. It’s all sad,” a choked-up Kimmel remarked. “He was a bright light, and that’s how I want to remember him.”
Additional tributes came from James Corden, Conan O’Brien and a tearful Ellen DeGeneres, who reminded her viewers that “life is short, and it’s fragile” in the wake of Bryant’s shocking death.