Jimmy Kimmel devoted Monday’s entire episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live! to Kobe Bryant, the Los Angeles Lakers great who, along with his daughter Gianna and seven others, tragically passed away over the weekend. No guests, no studio audience, just a tearful remembrance of the Black Mamba, who appeared on the late-night show 15 times between 2007 and 2019. “I know this might not make sense, but he was just the last person you could have ever imagined something like this happening to,” Kimmel said. “He was so strong and handsome and smart and energetic — he was a hero.”
Kimmel, who films Jimmy Kimmel Live! in Los Angeles, described what Bryant meant to locals, and how “we loved him because he was ours. We watched him grow up here. He came to L.A. when he was a teenager and unlike almost every other superstar athlete, he never left.” He also didn’t sidestep past the troubling 2003 rape accusation against Bryant. “I know he wasn’t a perfect person. I understand that. My intention is not to canonize him. Or to make judgments about things I don’t know anything about,” he said. “But I will say, he loved his family, he worked very hard, and he brought a lot of joy to a lot of people in this city. And we’re going to miss him.”
“There’s no silver lining here. It’s all bad. It’s all sad. He was a bright light. And that’s how I want to remember him.”
You can watch the entire tearful monologue (and the entirety of the Kobe-devoted episode) below.