Tyra Banks tells The Breakfast Club about first meeting Kobe Bryant when he was 17 and then later collaborating on the classic "K.O.B.E."
While Kobe Bryant and Tyra Banks collaborating on a song was probably laughed at as a bizarre idea at the time of its release, it now marks an iconic moment in pop culture history. After deciding during a run-in at The Kids Choice Awards to hop in the studio together, the unlikely musical duo premiered their track, "K.O.B.E.", with a performance at the 2000 NBA All-Star Game. "K.O.B.E." also served as the title track for the late basketball legend's first and only studio album. The memory of the song's existence may now be buried deep in people's subconscious minds, but Power 105.1's The Breakfast Club rehashed it during their recent interview with Tyra Banks.
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Banks was asked to speak on her relationship with Bryant, who passed away in a helicopter crash on January 26. While the two fell out of touch for what Banks estimated to be about ten years, she only has fond memories to share of him. She recalled first meeting Bryant when he was only 17 years old. They were put in contact by a mutual friend, who asked Banks to meet with the promising wunderkind to introduce him to life in Los Angeles. "He sits on my couch and I just school him on LA - what to look out for and 'here's my number if you ever need anything,'" the former supermodel said. "So to me whenever I saw him, I just saw that 17-year-old kid in my eyes."
The conversation then shifted to "K.O.B.E." Banks remembered witnessing the "little spark" between Bryant and with his wife, Vanessa, when they first met on the set of the song's music video. While some may mock the song, Banks still "actually [thinks]" it's "good." She just wishes she wasn't chosen to do the "baby voice" in the chorus. DJ Envy then wanted to give "K.O.B.E." a spin on air for old time's sake, but Charlamagne tha God had reservations about this. "I don't think Kobe wants you to do that," Charlamagne suggested. "I think Kobe would not approve of this."
You can hear Banks sharing her Kobe memories at the 37:40-mark in the video below.