In his new show O’Shea Jackson Jr.’plays a plays basketball coach, in real life he’s a huge Lakers and Kobe Bryant fan.
O’Shea Jackson Jr. once accidentally drunkenly sent Kobe Bryant a direct message on Twitter that eventually led to a heart-to-heart conversation between the two, he revealed this week.
The 30-year-old actor and rapper discussed the situation in an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show Thursday with host tWitch, calling it a “funny Kobe story.”
Jackson Jr. explained, “I was at the house a little intoxicated, do not judge me. And yeah, Kobe follows me on Twitter and I’m like, ‘You know what? I am going to DM Kobe. I am drunk, I am going to DM Kobe.’ ”
“So I hit up Kobe and I am like, ‘Listen man, I just want to know how do you keep going? How can you not be content? Can you give me any books, any movies you watch, any quotes? Give me something,’ ” the actor continued.
The basketball legend, who died in a helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in Jan. 2020, responded to the message with his phone number.
After a few days passed, Bryant eventually called Jackson Jr. while he was in the back of an Uber.
“He talked to me for 25 minutes,” recounted Jackson Jr. “We talked about our parents. He had a dad who was in the league going in his footsteps. Kind of the same world I was in. Talked about work ethic, not feeling content, not feeling like he has done enough even still he had just won the Academy Award — like you know, and he still had that feeling.”
Continued Jackson Jr., “And it is something that I will always hold dear, that the first phone call with my hero was also the last. That is something that I taking to heart. So my entire performance in Swagger, which I hope you all see, is dedicated to Kobe Bryant.”
Swagger is a new 10-episode basketball drama series on Apple TV+ that highlights the ups and downs for young athletes.
O’Jackson Jr., who plays basketball coach Ike Edwards in Swagger, said he started filming it the day after Bryant was killed and it was hard because he was such a huge fan.
Swagger is now available to stream on Apple TV+
Watch O’Shea’s interview with Twitch for The Ellen DeGeneres Show.