Back in 2018, New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick asked NBA superstar Kobe Bryant to pay them a visit. That visit has been talked about plenty recently, as Bryant tragically lost his list in a recent helicopter accident.
Getting a visit from Bryant was a very nice moment for the Patriots. All players look back at it with tremendous gratitude for the NBA star who made the time to attend a workout of theirs. When talking about that visit, former Patriots offensive lineman Jason King said:
“In his normal tone of voice, he told us that he had a guest, a friend. Coach Belichick was really good about bringing in cool guests that you would want to listen to, but this one, I don’t think anyone was expecting at all. When Kobe walked through the door, I remember everyone gasping. ‘Is this really Kobe? What’s going on here?’ Everyone kind of freaked out.
“It’s a really cool feeling to see a bunch of professional athletes, especially some of the really successful, great players on that team, and how they kind of turn into the 12-year-old fan they were just signing autographs for. It’s just that level of respect everyone had for him.”
Linebacker Marquis Flowers shared how surreal that day felt for him as a life-long Lakers fan:
“Incredible. Everyone was kind of in a shocked mode. His mentality, the way he explained it to us, how he prepares, plays, and tries to dominate his opponent; I was sitting there and thinking, ‘This is for sure Kobe. This isn’t fake.'”
King went back to say:
“He talked about his family and how important it was coming home and letting go of the sport, and putting the same amount of energy into your wife and kids that you put into the sport that day. Athletes can get caught up in being stuck at the office, or the helmet, and it’s not fair to your family. To hear Kobe say how important his family was to him, and how even after a long day of playing or scouting the next opponent, you have to turn that off and put the same amount of energy into your wife and kids. It was special to hear that.
“One of the things that really stuck with me was how he tied that into the whole helicopter thing — how expensive it was to travel, but how every single thing that went into it was worth it because that was the only way he could perfect his craft at 3 in the morning at the gym, go back for practice, go back to shoot again, and then make it through L.A. traffic from the arena to make it home to his daughter’s basketball game. He just refused to miss anything his wife or kids had planned
“So he gave us that story of why he got that [helicopter] and why he takes it everywhere. I keep going back to that moment when thinking about it.”