Rob Pelinka shared the contents of the message to an audience of Bryant's friends, family, colleagues, and fans at the Staples Center.
Kobe Bryant was texting his former agent and general manager of the L.A. Lakers, Rob Pelinka, just moments before the fatal crash, and Pelinka says his "last human act was heroic." According to Independent, Bryant's final text was aimed at securing an internship for a friend's daughter. Speaking at a celebration of the lives of Bryant and his daughter Gianna in Los Angeles, Pelinka said Kobe Bryant was trying to secure an internship with a baseball agency for John Altobelli's daughter, who was one of nine people to die in the January 26 helicopter crash that also killed Kobe and Gianna.
“I grabbed my phone and text Kobe back that I had seen the baseball agent at a Lakers game just the other night and was happy to help him with whatever he wanted,” Pelinka explained, according to US Weekly. “It was now just past 9:30. Kobe texted back explaining his desire to help a friend of his secure a baseball agency internship for one of his young daughters." He told an audience of Bryant's friends, family, colleagues, and admirers at the Staples Center: "Kobe and I talked or texted every single day because that is what best friends do. Kobe vouched for the girl's character, intellect, and work ethic."
Rob Pelinka was in church on the morning of Sunday Jan. 26 when he got a text message from Kobe Bryant.— Los Angeles Times (@latimes) February 24, 2020
“Kobe’s last human act was heroic,” Pelinka said. “He wanted to use his platform to bless and shape a young girl’s future. Hasn’t Kobe done that for all of us?” pic.twitter.com/5me2nUVWsf
"He clearly wanted to champion a bright future for her. A handful of minutes later, Kobe and Gianna and seven other beautiful souls ascended into heaven. Kobe had been texting me from the helicopter." The basketball executive said, “I text Kobe right back and said I would put a plan in motion to help get that done." He added: "Kobe's last human act was heroic. He wanted to use his platform to bless and shape a young girl’s future. Hasn’t Kobe done that for all of us?” Pelinka is also Gigi's godfather and he described the 13-year-old as "a combination of dignity and grace with a sense of humor."
During an emotional Staples Center memorial service for NBA legend Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka on Monday detailed text messages between him and Bryant, which may have been the last ever sent by Bryant. https://t.co/zKkgzHEn9V— 25 News KXXV (@25NewsKXXV) February 25, 2020
Earlier, Bryant's wife Vanessa gave a moving tribute to her late husband and daughter. She began her speech by thanking everyone present at the Staples Center for their immense love and support. "Thank you all so much for being here, it means so much to us. I’d like to thank everyone for coming today. The outpouring of love and support that my family has felt from around the world has been so uplifting," she said. She paid tribute to Kobe by saying, "He was the most amazing husband. Kobe loved me more than I could ever express or put into words. I have no idea how I deserved a man who loved or wanted me more than Kobe."
"We loved each other with our whole beings, two perfectly imperfect people making a beautiful family and raising our sweet and amazing girls," said the grieving wife, who tied the knot with Kobe in 2001. "Kobe was the MVP of girl dads or MVD. He never left the toilet seat up. He always told the girls how beautiful and smart they are. He taught them how to be brave," she said, adding, "He had a tender heart." Continuing the heartfelt speech, she said, "But I want my daughters to know the amazing person, husband, and father he was. The kind of man who wanted to teach the future generations to be better… he taught us all valuable lessons about life and sports… we’re so thankful he left those lessons and stories behind for us."
Vanessa Bryant paid tribute to Kobe with this powerful, moving speech. pic.twitter.com/iBQxPaqOIW— The Sports Daily (@SportsDailyBlog) February 24, 2020
"God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to have them together," said the mother, before asking her late husband, "Babe, you take care of our Gigi. And I got Nani, B.B. and Koko. We’re still the best team." She concluded by saying, "May you both rest in peace and have fun in Heaven until we meet again one day. We love you both and miss you. Forever and always, Mommy," said Vanessa. The memorial also honored the other victims of the tragic accident- John Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser, Payton Chester, and pilot Ara Zobayan.
This part of the ceremony took me out. How strong a women Vanessa Bryant is, to deliver this powerful speech, she’s such a strong women. Our heart goes out to her. We miss you Kobe. We miss you Gigi. Both of your legacies will forever live on. pic.twitter.com/chAVvHzaYb— RIP Kobe Bryant (@_Lakers_4_Life) February 24, 2020
Shareef O'Neal, the son of NBA legend and Bryant's longtime teammate Shaquille O'Neal, revealed on Twitter a day after the crash that Kobe had messaged him around 8:20 a.m. on the day of the crash. The helicopter crashed around 10 am, but O'Neal, not knowing what had happened, replied to the messages an hour after the crash, around 11 a.m., according to NZ Herald. Responding to Bryant asking how he was going, O'Neal updated his close friend and asked the same question. Little did he know he would never get a reply. "Literally this morning you reached out to me … I love you forever unc — I love you," O'Neal tweeted along with a screenshot of their texts.
You’ve really been there for me all 20 years of my life ... been there for me since I was born .. love you— Shareef O’Neal (@SSJreef) January 26, 2020