Jay-Z, speaking at a Columbia University lecture this week, recalled that Bryant visited his house on New Year’s and was in a better state than he’d ever seen him. Bryant and Gianna died in a helicopter crash with seven others on Jan. 26.
“One of the last things he said to me was, ‘You gotta see Gianna play basketball,’” Jay-Z remembered. “He was so proud. And the look on his face. I looked at him and said she’s going to be the best female basketball player in the world.”
“So that’s really a tough one,” he said. “My wife and I have taken that really tough.”
In the immediate aftermath of Bryant’s death on Jan. 26, Jay-Z’s Roc Nation Instagram called the Lakers legend a “transcendent global icon.” It also shared a photo of Bryant with Gianna. “A father first. Hold tightly to the ones you love.”
Jay-Z’s wife Beyonce later shared photos of Bryant, writing: “I will continue to diligently pray for your Queens.”
In addition to his wife, Bryant is survived by three other daughters.