Chadwick Boseman And Kobe Bryant's Last Conversation Is Haunting

From the United States' unprecedented number of coronavirus deaths to the unjust police killings of unarmed Black people, 2020 has certainly been a tough year all around, and with numerous unexpected deaths throughout the entertainment industry, Hollywood hasn't emerged unscathed. In February, Love Island star Caroline Flack took her own life, and in July, former Glee star Naya Rivera drowned while boating with her 4-year-old son. Unfortunately, the list goes on and on.

But it was the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant in January 2020 that first shook the public to its core. Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven other passengers were killed when their helicopter crashed in the hills of Calabasas, Calif. Now, months later, the Black community has lost another icon, Black Panther's Chadwick Boseman. The actor succumbed to his years-long battle with colon cancer on Aug. 28, 2020, but Boseman never spoke of his illness publicly and continued to work despite the pain, making the loss especially shocking and gut-wrenching for movie-goers across the globe.

In the wake of his death, fans began to revisit Boseman's old interviews. One particularly haunting story that came to light was an exchange between Boseman and Bryant. Their final conversation paints a haunting picture of two irreplaceable talents gone too soon.

Chadwick Boseman and Kobe Bryant wanted to work together

While he's best known for his time with the L.A. Lakers, basketball player Kobe Bryant was also a gifted artist. Bryant was so talented, in fact, that his film, Dear Basketballearned the 2018 Oscar for best animated short. It was at an afterparty that night that Bryant and actor Chadwick Boseman got to talking. 

On HBO's The Shop: Uninterrupted, a talk show executive-produced by LeBron James, Boseman opened up about his final conversation with Bryant. "He's not somebody that I was best friends with or that I knew really well. But the crazy thing is that, in those four conversations, it felt like somebody that I knew really well," the Black Panther star explained (via BET). "It was crazy because we were sitting in the party talking about philosophy and poetry," Boseman continued. "He was like, 'This is what I'm into right now as an artist, not as a basketball player.' We started talking about it, I'm like 'Yo, we should do something together.'"

Boseman added that when he asked Bryant when he'd like to start working on a project together, Bryant said in two years. Sadly, they never got the chance, as both men passed away in 2020, the proposed year of their collaboration. Now we're left to guess what they might have made together, but if their track records are any indication, it's safe to say it would have been something great.

Chadwick Boseman was heartbroken by Kobe Bryant's death

Though they didn't know each other well, Chadwick Boseman was deeply affected by Kobe Bryant's untimely death. He took to Twitter to express his grief. On Jan. 26, 2020 he tweeted a photo with Bryant from a 2018 Oscar's afterparty. In the photo, Boseman and Bryant smile broadly while Bryant shows off his Academy Award statue. The accompanying caption read: "I'm heartbroken. Shocked. Husband, Father, Strategist, Philosopher-Poet, Warrior-Athlete, Filmmaker...your focus is magnetic, Kobe. My love goes out to you and your family."

Fans were touched when the image resurfaced in the days following Boseman's death. Many replied to the post with heartfelt messages of their own. "My prayers are with your families. You've been our icons. You make us proud," wrote one heartbroken fan.

According to People, Boseman participated in a tribute to Bryant that aired on TNT. The memorial, organized by the NBA, asked celebrities to recreate famous photos of the basketball great's time as a Laker. Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, and Shaquille O'Neal also took part in the event.

Kobe Bryant's family never forgot Boseman's kindness. When the news broke of his passing in late August 2020, Bryant's eldest daughter paid tribute to the actor via a since-deleted Instagram story. People reported that the teenager shared the same photo of Bryant and Boseman at the Oscars accompanied by the caption: "Rest in peace Wakanda forever," referencing the fictitious country in Black Panther.

LeBron James felt both losses deeply

Chadwick Boseman appeared on LeBron James' talk show to discuss his final conversation with Kobe Bryant, so it should come as no surprise that James, who was close to both men, was deeply affected by their deaths.

People reported that at the Los Angeles Lakers' playoff game against the Portland Trail Blazers, which took place the day after Boseman passed, James paid tribute to the fallen actor by giving the "Wakanda forever" sign (crossing your arms over your chest) while kneeling during the national anthem.

In the days following Boseman's death, James opened up about the sadness he felt losing Bryant and Boseman in the same year. In an interview, James expressed not only his grief but the pain of the loss felt by the Black community as a whole. "It actually felt like we finally had our Black superhero, and nobody could touch us. And to lose that, it's sad in our community..." James told reporters (via the New York Post).

James concluded the interview by summing up just about everyone's feelings about 2020 thus far: "To lose the Black Panther and the Black Mamba in the same year, we can all agree that 2020 is the s**tiest year — in my 35 years, it's not even a question." Well said.