Kobe Bryant once celebrated a Lakers playoff win by offering a reporter one of his ’17 or 18’ beers he didn’t even buy.
Kobe Bryant once celebrated a Lakers playoff win by offering a reporter one of his ’17 or 18′ beers he didn’t even buy.
We’ve all seen Kobe Bryant’s career with the Los Angeles Lakers win him a slew of NBA awards. He was a five-time NBA champion and an All-Star on 18 occasions. His performance, on the other hand, resulted in his establishing strong connections with many of his admirers. People felt as if they knew the two-time Finals MVP personally because they saw him grow from an 18-year-old kid in Los Angeles to one of the greatest players in league history; he also gave his all on the court for them every night.
But Bryant’s admirers didn’t only offer him memories to treasure; they also sent him gifts from time to time.
Kobe Bryant was a man who cared about his followers.
Throughout his NBA career, everyone saw Kobe Bryant give it his best every night for the Lakers. Bryant would give it his all, whether it was a random game in January or the championships in June.
When his wife, Vanessa Bryant, spoke during his Hall of Fame induction earlier in 2021, she explained why.
According to the NBA’s Twitter, “one of the reasons my husband went through injuries and suffering was because he claimed he recalled sitting in the nosebleeds with his dad watching his favorite player play when he was a young kid,” she added. “…Kobe didn’t want to let his supporters down, particularly the youngsters in the 300 sections who had saved up to see him play, the kids who shared his enthusiasm. I recall asking him why he couldn’t simply sit out a game if he was in pain. ‘What about the folks who saved enough to see me play just once?’ he said. He was always thinking about his fans.”
And, just as Bryant never forgot about his ardent fans, they never forgot about him. Some others simply wanted to claim they had had any kind of moment with him, particularly after a playoff win.
After a Lakers playoff victory, Kobe received 17 or 18 full beers from supporters.
On April 13, 2016, Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers scored 60 points in his last NBA game. | Getty Images/Harry How
As a veteran Lakers broadcaster and reporter, John Ireland has had many encounters with Kobe Bryant. After a playoff series victory against the Houston Rockets, Bryant gave him a drink, which was one of his fondest memories.
In 2016, he told Complex Magazine, “By the time I got back to the hotel, it was a few hours after the team.” “So, our whole travel group is at the bar, and Kobe gestures over to me and says, ‘Hey John, you want a beer?’ ‘Hey Kobe, you don’t have to buy me a drink,’ I say. And Kobe has a grin on his face while pointing down. And when I look down, there are maybe 17 or 18 beers that are open but completely full.”
All of those drinks, as you would expect, were donated by fans. According to Ireland, they approached the NBA icon and said, “I’ve always wanted to buy you a drink.”
“And so he simply says ‘thank you very much’ (to the fans) and he takes it and throws it on the floor,” Ireland said to Complex. “After the first one, I went back and said, ‘Can I have another?’ And he says, “There’s no way we’re going to drink all of them,” which I believe he means.
The exact date of this playoff series victory is unknown. According to Complex, Ireland began covering the Lakers as a sideline reporter in 2002, thus it might have been in the first round of the 2004 playoffs when LA defeated Houston in five games. It might have been in the 2009 Western Conference playoffs, when the Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic in seven games before going on to win the NBA Finals a month later.
Whatever time it was, one of Bryant’s numerous postseason victories resulted in his drinking a lot of beer that night.
With the Lakers, Kobe Bryant had a lot of success in the playoffs.
Bryant certainly didn’t get free drinks after every playoff victory, but considering the amount of success he had in the playoffs during his career, he very likely did.
From 1999-2000 to 2001-02, Bryant and the Lakers won three consecutive championships, and they reached the finals once more in 2003-04. From 2007-08 to 2009-10, they reached three more finals in a row, winning back-to-back championships in the latter two years of that span. Throughout his postseason career, Bryant averaged 25.6 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 4.7 assists.
The Hall of Famer gave Lakers fans a lot to shout about, which undoubtedly won him a lot of free beverages (and perhaps meals) long after his career was over.
Bryant may have amassed a net worth of $600 million as a result of his on- and off-court accomplishments, but the affection he gave his fans certainly led to him drinking and even eating for free on a regular basis. You can’t really blame those folks. They’ll be able to claim they purchased a drink for the one and only Kobe Bryant for the rest of their lives.
Basketball Reference provided the stats, while Celebrity Net Worth provided the net worth.
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Kobe Bryant once celebrated a Lakers playoff win by offering to buy reporter one of his ’17 or 18′ beers he didn’t even buy. Reference: honoring kobe bryant.
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