Kobe Bryant 'wanted to reach that next generation'

ESPN Senior Writer Ramona Shelburne describes her friendship with Bryant and says his post-basketball career focused on his family and kids.
6:41 | 01/27/20

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Transcript for Kobe Bryant 'wanted to reach that next generation'
Reporter: This is the grit and the grind that made kobe Bryant one of the greatest players to ever step onto the My name is kobe Bryant. I'm 17 years old. I have the hunger and motivation, and the desire to be the best possible basketball player that I can be. There's many people who say, no one works harder than you. Where does that come from? I just love playing. Reporter: To the world, he was a basketball legend, but to his four daughters, kobe was simply known as dad. When you are raising kids, you know, we were raising our daughters one, of the things we would teach them is you have to just try your best, and give it your all. Give it everything you have, and, you know, if you come up short, you just get up and you just try again. Reporter: Kobe's children, a source of inspiration through all of the professional highs -- And an 81-point game. Reporter: -- And the heartbreaking lows like the Lakers '2008 championship loss to the Boston Celtics. I got home and I hugged my kids and they just gave me a big hug, and, you know, said, daddy, get them next time. Reporter: His girls by his side as kobe hung up his Lakers Jerseys in 2017 at the place he called home, the staples center. Our daughters, hopefully what you get from tonight, those times when you get up early and you work hard, when you don't feel like working, you're too tired and you don't want to push yourself, but you do it anyway. That is actually the dream. If you guys can understand that, then I'm doing my job as a father. Reporter: Through it all, kobe's girls teaching him, pushing him to take a leap of faith and create his oscar-winning animated short, "Dear basketball." My daughter gave me the best piece of advice. I was a little worried about turning this into a film and my little 11-year-old Gianna goes, dad, you always tell us to go after our dreams. So man up. All right, cool. You call yourself kobe the cartoon? I looked at it and I was, like, oh my god. Looked just like Gigi. Reporter: And 13-year-old Gigi inherited his love of the game. Do you think she wants to play in the wnba? She does for sure. This kid, man. Wouldn't that be great? The best thing that happens is when we go out and fans will come up to me and she'll be standing next to me and they'll be like, you have to have a boy. You and V got to have a boy. Have somebody to carry on your tradition and the legacy. She's, like, I got this. Reporter: The two captured courtside. Proud moments, kobe fondly remembered in an interview earlier this month. We just had so much fun because for the first time I was seeing the game through her eyes. It was her, like, she was having such a good time. Reporter: Now his legacy lives on thanks to his incredible contributions on and off the court. I love you guys. To my family, you know, thank you guys for all your sacrifice. There's no way that I could thank you enough for that. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Joining us on the phone now is NBA hall of famer, Julius Erving, and joining us from L.A. Is ESPN senior writer Ramona Shelburne. Thank you for joining us, and Dr. J, I want to start with you. You played with kobe's father, and what made him such a special person on and off the court? I guess we're having some trouble with Dr. J right now. So Ramona, I want to go to you, Ramona. You got to know kobe not just as a player, but as a father. Yeah. What was he like as a family man? You know, the last few years all I would -- whenever I would reach out to him and say, did you see something happening in the NBA? He was, like, no, man. I miss it. I was it Gianna's game, I was at Natalia's choir. He was out with his family, and that's what he lived for right now. Every time I talked to him, that's all he wanted to talk about. We went through our careers and our lives in Los Angeles over here together. I felt like we got to be friends after his playing career was over, and I was pregnant a couple of years ago, and he said, you know, keep me updated. He would check in on me, you know, and I remember he said, let me know when the baby's coming, and so I did, and 38 hours into labor, guys, I get a text from kobe and I was in a tough spot and this man reached out to me and he said, just focus on the blessing that is life that you are about to create. This is the greatest blessing that god can give you, and we connected as people, as parents, and, you know, the last few years, we would send texts about our kids. Ramona, we have heard stories about that. We heard about the heart procedure, and it was from kobe. We heard that over and over. You alluded to his family. We are all talking about it. It was very important for him to set that kind of example for his children, wasn't it, Ramona? Yeah, and, you know, robin, all he cared about going forward in his life was his legacy, and what he could teach to not just his own kids, but to all kids. When he was writing, he was writing children's books. He was doing a podcast for kids. "Dear basketball" is for kids. He wanted to reach that next generation. His last year, we were doing a story and I wanted to write the mic drop story, the story that would encompass all of it, and he said, I'm not into that. I said, what are you into then? He said, I want people to learn what I have been through to inspire others. At one point, I said, you got to slow down and enjoy your retirement a little bit. He was in the office the day after his last game, and to think back now, I'm glad he didn't slow down because he left us a lot. Ramona, thank you for sharing your thoughts and we apologize for the difficulty that we had with Dr. J. Ramona hit something, and I was trying to figure out why are so many people -- there was a gentleman from our crew who said he never cries and he cried about kobe. I think it's many different reasons. We grew up with him. When he came along, that's when the internet really exploded and you were able to really follow all sides of him, and also it's because we were anticipating the next. We were anticipating -- There was so much to come. Exactly, and I think we're mourning of course, how we knew him, but also knowing that there was so much more that he wanted to do. We lost something, and we're missing something that we can

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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