124th U.S. Open

Pinehurst No. 2

The Loop

Jack Nicholson asking a 19-year-old Kobe Bryant for his autograph is the only Kobe video you need today

January 27, 2020
Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant and Jack Nicholson

Andrew D. Bernstein


Where to even begin? If you're a sports fan, you're hurting today. Period. Even if you haven't watched an NBA game in years. Even if you think Magic is the greatest Laker. Even if you root for the damn Celtics. That's just the effect Kobe Bryant had on sports. The dude was universal. He was a language everyone spoke. He was swagger and grit at the same time. He was unblinking determination and laid-back cool all at once. Everyone was on a first name basis with Kobe, and now, in the most heartbreaking, surreal fashion imaginable unimaginable, he's gone.

It sucks. Flat out. It hurts. Straight up. This is one that's going to sting for a long, long time. It's going to sting at All-Star Weekend and it's going to sting when the In Memoriam rolls at the Oscars. Oh yeah, did you remember that Kobe Bryant has an Oscar too? There was literally nothing he couldn't do. He was LA personified . . . just like longtime fan and friend Jack Nicholson, who makes up one half of this, one of the few feel-good Kobe videos currently kicking around the internet. That's a messy segue, we know, but there's nothing clean about any of this.

That was the Mamba's magnetism. The guy was getting autographs FROM Jack Freaking Nicholson when he was JUST 19. We're willing to guess Kobe is the only autograph Jack Nicholson has ever asked for. At the very least, it's the only teenager's. And the best part? Kobe is hardly phased. There's some "HOLY SH*T, THAT'S JACK" wheels turning inside his head to be sure, but he keeps it cool under pressure, as always.

After acquiring Kobe's still-budding signature, Nicholson leaves the first-time All-Star with one simple kernel of wisdom: "Eat up and get loose."

Amen to that. Amen to Kobe.