Magic Johnson Reveals His Favorite Kobe Bryant Memory

Kaitlin Reilly
·2 min read

Magic Johnson will always be grateful for his friendship with the late Kobe Bryant.

In a conversation with Ellen DeGeneres on her daytime talk show Nov. 5, the NBA legend revealed one of his best memories with Kobe, his former Los Angeles Lakers teammate.

After Ellen congratulated Magic on the Dodgers World Series win (the retired athlete is a part owner of the baseball team) and the Lakers' new championship title, Magic, who appeared virtually on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, opened up about his friendship with the basketball superstar, who died alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant in a January helicopter crash.

Magic shared one of his favorite memories: A conversation shortly before the Lakers 1985 defeat of the Boston Celtics in the championship game. The L.A. team had lost to the Celtics just one year before, making it a particularly big win.

"I told him, the hardest championship you will ever win is beating the Boston Celtics. So right after we won that Game 7, he hugged me and said 'Man Magic you were right this is so difficult to beat these Boston Celtics, because they never beat themselves,'" the 61-year-old explained. "We've had so many great moments like that, talking about business, talking about life, talking about being husbands and fathers. I've enjoyed every moment talking to Kobe."

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In addition to appreciating Kobe as a friend and teammate, Magic said he loved how the "Black Mamba" used his free time after the end of his basketball career in 2016.

Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson
Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson

"To see him enjoy retirement and see him be creative and create content, winning an Oscar," Magic continued, referring to Kobe's 2018 Best Animated Short Academy Award win for the film Dear Basketball, "seeing the things he was able to do was amazing off the court."

He also applauded Kobe for being a champion for women in sports. Kobe coached Gianna's Mamba Academy basketball team, and the two were heading to a game the day of the crash.

"God is so good to have put Kobe in my life," Magic continued. "So I thank him for that."

Check out the full interview above.