Platinum producer Delray Richardson shares an untold story of the time Kobe Bryant met Tupac, 33 days before Shakur’s passing.
The brief meeting between two icons happened on August 11, 1996 according to Delray Richardson. A young 17-year old Kobe Bryant who had just been traded to the L.A. Lakers met Hip Hop’s hottest star in Tupac Shakur.
A few days prior to meeting Tupac, Kobe had been traded from the Charlotte Hornets to the Los Angeles Lakers. A trade that almost didn’t happen. The Hornets selected Kobe as their number 13 draft pick. Kobe was immediately traded him to the Lakers for Vlade Divac.
Charlotte Hornets General Manager Mitch Kupchak in 1996 was the assistant General Manager. Speaking to the Charlotte Observer, Kupchak remembers the trade vividly. “There was such excitement around the pick that Charlotte actually didn’t want to go through with the deal,” Kupchak said to the Charlotte Observer. “There was a time there, whether it was Vlade [Divac threatening to retire] or just pressure on the franchise, where the deal was actually in jeopardy.”
Divac did not retire, and the deal was finalized, much to the excitement of Jerry West who at the time was the Lakers General Manager, and was a strong advocate of bringing Kobe to the Lakers.
“I spotted Kobe Bryant, and I walked up to him and introduced myself,” Delray explains. “I told him that he plays like Mike. And, he said, ‘Thanks. I appreciate that.” Delray was tripping over the fact that Kobe at the time was only 17-years-old and was at the House of Blues. But, then again it was Kobe Bryant.
“By that time, Tupac was done with his conversation with Shock G. That’s when Kobe Bryant walked up to Tupac,” Delray recalls. He introduced himself and told Tupac that he was really a big fan of his music. Tupac thanked him. Tupac at the time did not know who Kobe was, but this was the one and only time the two ever crossed paths.
On this very night Kobe was also witnessed a meeting between Tupac Shakur and Nas. The beef between the two Hip Hop icons is well documented. A beef which was squashed 3 days before Tupac’s passing at the MTV Music Awards after party in New York.