You saw Kobe Bryant put up 60 points. You saw him take an NBA-record 50 shots. You saw the miserable Lakers come back in the second half to beat the Utah Jazz. But you didn’t see the flurry behind the scenes after Black Mamba’s final NBA game. On the latest Ringer NBA Show, Roy Hibbert described what happened that night — a tale that includes autographed shoes, locker room champagne, and Kanye West.
To hear the full story and more from Roy Hibbert, check out the podcast here. This transcription has been edited and condensed.
Roy Hibbert: I was really happy for [Kobe] that last game. We knew going in what it was [going to be like] and he missed his first couple, but then he got into his rhythm and we were just feeding it to him the whole time. It was tough hearing people in the stands behind us yelling, “Kobe can’t do everything! Pick up the slack!” And we are all looking back like, “Motherfucker you know we’re trying to pass this man the ball every time so he can go out on a high note. Why you giving us a hard time? We’re doing this on purpose. We wanna see the man go out on a high note.”
Tate Frazier: Great game plan by Byron Scott that night. He coached his ass off.
R.H.: B. Scott’s my man. Kobe came out in the first half and then subbed himself back in and then he wanted to play the whole second half. But, yeah, it was definitely a game that I’ll never forget, and I said this after the game in the locker room: I was happy to be able to breathe the same air as Kobe that night.
… The love that he got was crazy, and we were obviously celebrating in the locker room. We won a game, and then [it was] Kobe’s last game, and then I remember I had to get something signed from Kobe — he was just signing things like crazy. So I got a couple [of] shoes, a jersey — a couple jerseys — to save for myself.
T.F.: What kind of shoes? You got Nikes signed right? He’s not signing Adidas shoes?
R.H.: No he’s not signing Adidas shoes. I should have asked him … he was giving away game-worn shoes before the Philadelphia game after he said he was going to retire. After that I guess he had a contractual thing [with] all his game-worn shoes. He would wear like two or three [in a game] so he would give one to make money for autographs or whatever. And then he would give one to an opposing player, the best player on the opposing team. So, I should have gotten one of those but he gave me one in his size — not worn — but it’s in the house and I’m gonna get that boxed up and everything like that.
So, what I was going to say was it’s crazy that I had to go run to get something signed, I am about to leave the locker room, and there’s a long line of people — the media’s there, I’m walking out [and] we were just drinking champagne, just like we won a championship.
You’ve seen the pictures of us in the locker room. So I’m walking out and there’s like a long wait and I’m lookin’ like, “Yo. They makin’ Kanye West wait in line to get into the locker room?” And they made him wait like [anyone]. And I’m like, “Yo. They doin’ Yeezy wrong right now, man.”
T.F.: Yeah, that’s when they didn’t feel like Pablo and/or Kanye.
R.H.: So I said man you gotta usher [him] in. He’s the man. So I went up to Yeezy — I mean I went up to Kanye and said, “Yo. I love your music man.” I had a couple drinks and I was on an empty stomach too.
T.F.: You were champagne drunk. That’s a different level.
R.H.: And he was like “Yo. Hibbert,” this that and the other. And I’m like, Yo, I met Kanye that’s crazy. I’m a big fan of Kanye.
T.F.: Did you ask him if you could have a party in L.A.?
R.H.: He said no more parties in L.A. That’s not happening.
T.F.: That’s true he did say that. I just didn’t know if it was definitive or not.
R.H.: Probably no more parties in L.A. But no, [I] got to meet Kanye, got to play a year with Kobe.