The time Kobe Bryant took part in a child’s goldfish funeral

What kind of person was Kobe Bryant? The Lakers legend once paid his respects during a child's funeral for a goldfish.
(Lenny Ignelzi / Associated Press)

In the 2½ days after Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash, billionaire investor Chris Sacca sifted through old emails and text messages with the Lakers star.

“Somehow yesterday was bad and today feels even worse,” Sacca said in an email to The Times on Tuesday.

Their relationship started several years ago when Bryant asked Sacca to serve as a mentor to help him grow as an investor and entrepreneur. They quickly became friends, bonding over business and fatherhood. Though Bryant built a reputation as a fearsome competitor on the basketball court and a businessman with wide-ranging pursuits off it, children brought out a different side.


One occasion lingers in Sacca’s mind.

“I told Kobe that our kids’ fish had died and that we were going to have a funeral/celebration of life of it,” he wrote. “I told him that we were going to stream it on Periscope, and he asked me what time.”

Bryant promised to watch.

Complete coverage of the death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash.

Jan. 26, 2020

“Sure enough,” Sacca wrote, “when the time came, Kobe logged in and watched our fish funeral live and sent his sympathies to our kids. As a dad, he knew how important it was to them and that it mattered to them.”

Bryant started each conversation with Sacca by asking about his daughters. They usually spoke later in the evening when the children from both families were in bed.

“The priority for him,” Sacca wrote, “was always being at home in time to be with them.”