Hip-hop superstar T.I. says he once got a surprise visit from NBA legend Kobe Bryant that led to trash talking exchange about the L.A. Lakers and the Atlanta Hawks and the promise of an a**-whuppin on the court.
While promoting the return of VH1’s T.I. & Tiny: Friends & Family Hustle for it’s latest season, T.I., caught up with ESPN’s Richard Jefferson to talk about the reality show and his podcast, expediTIously.
During the video call, he shared that Bryant unexpectedly once popped into one of his studio sessions ahead of the Lakers-Hawks matchup.
“He just walked in on my session,” T.I. marveled. “We chopped it up for a couple of hours. We had a conversation about the culture and technology, of all things.”
He broke out into laughter when one particular moment from the chance encounter came to mind. “I remember saying to him, ‘Listen, I don’t want you to take this a**-whopping personally. This ain’t about me and you. It’s just you gon’ have a different color jersey and y’all the ones who gon’ have to walk home with the L tomorrow.’ [Kobe] laughed and said, ‘Do you need tickets?’ ” T.I. remembered.
He added that he never thought his home basketball team would be the Lakers. “Oddly enough, we beat ‘em!” T.I. exclaimed.
As their conversation was wrapping up, the “Whatever You Like” rapper took a moment to praise those in the hip-hop community that have stepped up to uplift spirits amid the global coronavirus crisis.
“Salute to everybody out there, man. Whether it's Boosie with his Lives or Tory Lanez with his Lives, DJ D-Nice [or] the Verzuz between [DJ] Premier and RZA, and so on, all of this is leading to us occupying ourselves and getting through the pandemic without killing each other,” he acknowledged.
When Jefferson asked him if he had any interest in partaking in the Instagram Live battles, T.I was indifferent.
"I ain't really tripping, bruh. I battled with the Crack Era and won. I'm a veteran of the War on Drugs and I'm still her,” he chuckled. “As far as catalogs go, I don't see them as battles. I see them as celebrations.”
Nonetheless, he was impressed with Ne-Yo and Johnta Austin’s match earlier in April. “Man, that was the most eloquent [match]. That was a duel. That wasn’t a battle,” T.I mused.
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Check out the rest of T.I’s conversation with ESPN to hear his thoughts on winning a Grammy or an Oscar below.
(Photo from left: VCG/VCG via Getty Images and Paras Griffin/Getty Images)