As fans and friends of Kobe Bryant mourned the loss of the NBA legend and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna after a fatal helicopter crash this weekend, among them was Shaquille O'Neal's Son, Shareef, who revealed that Bryant had texted him just a few hours earlier in that very morning.
Shareef took to Instagram to post the text messages sent by Kobe, and in the exchange, Kobe was checking in on Shareef, writing at 8:19 am, "You good fam?" Shaq's son replied at 10:58am, "Yeah! Just been getting this work in trying to figure out my next move." He followed with, "How you been?"
Along with the text messages, O'Neal shared photos of Kobe, and an emotional caption which reads, "This first picture were messages from THIS MORNING!!! .. I wish I didn't sleep in so I could've talked to you .. I can't even think straight right now.. I’m glad we got to bond over the years .. not only were you a great uncle you were a coach and a mentor to me too .. I love you man..thank you for everything you've done .. for this city, for the basketball world, and for me ... I won't let you down .. you always counted on me and lifted me up. Love you unc."
In another post, Shareef revealed more texts from Kobe from the last year, showing how frequently Bryant checked in on him. He wrote along with the text messages, "I'm crying while reading these messages over ... even when I was at my worst you checked in on me so often .. I really appreciate you for that because I needed that so much.... i was so defeated sittin in that hospital everyday and I thought my basketball life was over .. you brought a smile to my face .. thank you. Love you."
Shareef's father, Shaquille O'Neal, also posted several tributes to Bryant on social media. In one post he wrote, "Kobe was so much more than an athlete, he was a family man. That was what we had most in common. We love our families. Whenever we got together I would hug his children like they were my own and he would embrace my kids like they were his. His baby girl Gianna was born on the same day as my youngest daughter Me’Arah. I miss you already brother. This is truly unbelievable. Everyone please keep the Bryant’s in your prayers. R.I.P."