Kobe Bryant is, well, Kobe Bryant. But apparently, that in and of itself doesn’t earn Kobe many, er, any cool points from his daughters. Like most teen/tween girls, Natalia, 14, and Gianna, 11, don’t have much time in their busy lives to entertain their dad or the life lessons he tries to teach them on a regular basis. On Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Thursday, Kobe admitted he’s already seen his fair share of eye-rolls from his two girls, who are slowly entering that stage in life where they’d rather be doing anything other than sitting through a lecture from their father, even if their father just so happens to be one of the most famous basketball players of all time.
But Kobe told Kimmel he does have a few tricks up his sleeve when it comes to scoring cool points with his daughters and keeping their attention. The most effective one? Introducing them to the celebrities that he knows. At his recent jersey retirement ceremony, he initially planned on using his speech at the ceremony to send a message about hard work to his girls. But in the end, all they really cared about was meeting the famous people who came out to see Kobe take the court at Staples Center one last time. It didn’t go exactly as Kobe planned, but they had a great time because of it, which was ultimately all that mattered to him.
"When I was thinking about, 'What am I going to say?' I figured at this moment in time is when I have their undivided attention, speaking of my two daughters, 14 and 11," Kobe said. "When I’m at home and I’m talking to them, they’re not listening to a word I have to say. But now, in front of thousands of people, they have to pay attention. So, therefore, I’m going to talk to them about hard work, and they can’t just roll their eyes at me. I have their undivided attention, so I stole that moment to teach them something. But they could care less. They met Adam Levine and Kendrick Lamar and they’re like, 'This night is awesome!'"
Kobe said this has turned into a little bit of a pattern for him and his daughters. He told Kimmel about how he’s helped them meet everyone from Taylor Swift to Vin Diesel to—gasp—Beyoncé, and about how he’s tried to use those meetings to boost his own cool factor.
"Taylor Swift. Vin Diesel. Fast and the Furious. That was pretty awesome," he said. "I got major cool points for like a good two months off of that. But Beyoncé is the best one. Beyoncé was hands down…I’m always trying to teach lessons to the kids. They never listen to me. So we went to see Beyoncé in concert and we went backstage and got to say hello to her and stuff. I said, 'Amazing, you’re still killing it.' She said, 'Yeah, I learned from you.' I looked at the kids like, 'Dude! Mamba mentality, dude. Now you have to listen to me.'"
You can watch Kobe talk about his retirement ceremony and his daughters in the clip above. You can also check out a clip of Kobe discussing his friendships with Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan below.