Tracy McGrady says young Kobe Bryant told him 'I want to die young, I want to be immortalized'

As the NBA, its fans and the broader world impacted by Kobe Bryant processes his sudden death on Sunday, players and people who knew him are sharing stories of their relationship with the fallen Los Angeles Lakers icon.

Tracy McGrady, who joined the league a year after Bryant in 1997 and did so straight out of high school like Kobe did, shared an eerie story with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols on “The Jump” on Monday.

McGrady: ‘Kobe spoke this’

McGrady, in tears, told Nichols that “Kobe spoke this.”

McGrady, who said he was devastated, noted that Bryant said those things in his younger days when pressed by Nichols.

“Clearly that statement was way before kids,” McGrady said. “I’m sure that when he had kids, he didn’t have the mindset.”

Bryant had four daughters with his wife Vanessa, including 13-year-old Gianna, who died alongside him with seven others in Sunday’s helicopter crash outside of Los Angeles.

Bryant was active in his children’s lives and seen repeatedly with Gianna attending basketball games and working with her as she developed her own game.

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