NBA Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady, who is a dear friend of the late basketball icon Kobe Bryant, recently revealed what seemed a haunting prophecy the Los Angeles Lakers great said to him years ago.
Speaking to Rachel Nichols of ESPN on Monday, the seven-time All-Star and two-time scoring champion said, "This sounds crazy, but Kobe spoke this. He used to mention all the time, 'I wanna die young.' I thought he was mad. He used to say, 'I wanna die young. I want to be immortalized.'"
McGrady further quoted Kobe saying, "'I wanna have my career be better than Michael Jordan, and I wanna die young.' And I just thought he was so crazy for saying that."
T-Mac entered the NBA a year after Kobe was drafted. He joined Kobe as one of the few players to make the jump to the league straight out of high school.
Nichols then responded and expressed her sentiments that what Kobe once said was something a "younger" Kobe would say. Moreover, an older Kobe, she added, would want to be around more to spend most of his time with his family.
The former NBA player agreed and said, "Clearly, that statement was way before kids, and I'm sure once he had kids, he didn't have that mindset."
McGrady also mentioned that Kobe helped him through his first few seasons as a player.
During Tracy's first two-three seasons, he revealed that he leaned to the NBA superstar for advice frequently. He compared their relationship as brotherhood.
Kobe even mentioned his former colleague in his book "Mamba Mentality". Kobe wrote that McGrady "was the single hardest match-up" he had in his career, noting how the versatlie forward "could do anythin on offense."
In Memory of Gigi
Nichols and McGrady also talked about Kobe's daughter Gianna, who was involved in the helicopter crash that took the lives of eight other passengers (including Kobe).
McGrady revealed that Kobe watching his kids play was the most important thing for the late Lakers great. He also revealed that sometimes he would watch Gianna play and hug her before the game.
The 40-year-old ex-NBA player also said that Gianna was unique and "was built like Kobe."
"Just to watch her play was like watching a young Kobe. It just looked like her dad out there," McGrady said.
Furthermore, McGrady boasted that Gigi had the movies of his father at just 13 years old -- particularly the signature fadeaway shot that many people try to immitate.
McGrady said that Gigi was "going to be special" but unfortunately because of what happened, she now wouldn't have the opportunity to do it.
Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others died when the helicopter they were riding in crashed in Calabasas, California on Sunday morning. They were on their way to a youth basketball tournament in Thousand Oaks, California.
Before Kobe's death, LeBron James passed Kobe on the NBA's all-time scoring list on Saturday night. Kobe's last Instagram post and tweet were about LeBron, congratulating for surpassing him.