Kobe Bryant may have spent the second half of his life in the Los Angeles area, but he was always an avid - and very public - Eagles fan. He celebrated Super Bowl LII like the rest of, screaming with joy in his living room, and he followed the team year in and year out.
So it's no surprise that, a month before his tragic death in a helicopter crash, Bryant used a serendipitous meeting at a Lakers game to make a pitch for the Eagles.
During a Lakers game Dec. 29, Colorado wide receiver and likely first-round draft pick Laviska Shenault Jr. found himself sitting next to Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, who also died in the crash. It would be the last Lakers game the two attended.
You can see Shenault, shown here wearing a backwards hat, dap up LeBron courtside:
Laviska Shenault is BIG TIME. Sitting court side next to Kobe and getting dapped up from Lebron mid-game. pic.twitter.com/e2FQcowd5S— Chase Howell (@chasehowell__) December 30, 2019
Shenault said Bryant spent most of the night explaining intricacies of the game to his daughter, but the Lakers legend took a minute to talk to the soon-to-be NFL star.
As the two chatted, Shenault told DNVR.com at the NFL Draft Combine this week, Bryant tried to nudge Shenault towards a possible spot on the Eagles:
On this night, Shenault got his own Kobe memory to cherish for a lifetime.
"I actually haven’t been able to talk to anybody about this, but one of the talks we had—he had an Eagles hat on, and one of the things he said was, 'Man, Philly sure needs a receiver,'" Laviska explained, raising his eyebrows and smirking in a way that helped you imagine the exact way Kobe delivered the line.
"That was so exciting for him to say that," he added. "I responded with, 'Aye, I can get the job done for you.' That was a special moment."
That's an insanely cool story. And it'll be 10 million times cooler if the Eagles, who are indeed in need of a wide receiver, manage to draft Shenault at No. 21.
Shenault, who is just 21 years old, probably grew up idolizing Kobe as the ideal image of an athlete. To have Bryant imply he'd like to root for Shenault next season was probably an absolutely surreal moment.
Also: the image of Kobe, wearing an Eagles hat and talking Eagles football courtside in Los Angeles? Just another way Bryant was dedicated to reminding people he was a Philly guy.