You can add late-night hosts to the list of those who admired Kobe Bryant.
Several hosts delivered monologues dedicated to the memory of Bryant, who tragically died with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash Sunday morning.
An emotional Jimmy Fallon recalled meeting Bryant at a party when the NBA star was a 17-year-old rookie with the Lakers. Fallon re-told a story of making a beer run with Bryant to Pink Dot, a delivery-only grocery store in Los Angeles. After being told the store only delivers, Fallon described Bryant using his status as an NBA player to acquire beer.
“Kobe takes out his ID and he puts it up against the glass and he goes, ‘I’m a Laker!'” Fallon recalled with a laugh. “The guy opened the door and we walked out with five cases of beer and saved the party.”
Conan O’Brien, who films his late-night show “Conan” in Burbank, California, called Bryant a “hero.” The 56-year-old comedian went on to praise Bryant’s sense of humor before showing a montage of the NBA legend’s appearances on the show.
“He was naturally very funny and charming, he really was,” O’Brien said. “A terrific guest. A superstar does not have to be a great guest but he just was. Whenever he was on our show, he was a joy to talk with.
“That’s the guy I’ve been thinking about the last 24 hours.”
Jimmy Kimmel also shared memories of the future Hall of Famer, noting he had appeared on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” 15 times as a guest.
Out of respect to Bryant, Kimmel said there was no studio audience for Monday’s show, according to Deadline.
“That was a punch in the gut for many of us,” Kimmel said of the tragedy. “Kobe was a hero, in the way Superman is a hero. He was so…big and full of life, it was almost like he was a fictional character.”
Monday’s late-night monologues are just the latest in a series of tributes to the life and career of the 18-time All-Star.
“Kobe, when we meet again, we’re going on a beer run,” Fallon said.