Longtime NBCLA sportscaster Fred Roggin has covered Los Angeles sports and the Lakers for decades, including reporting on Kobe Bryant the day he was drafted until the day he died in a helicopter crash in January 2020.
Our new series “I Was There When…” shares the story behind the story – what it was like to see Kobe grow throughout his entire career, and feel the immense loss to the city of Angels when he died.
Below, find a condensed version of a Reddit AMA with Roggin.
What was the moment that you knew Kobe was going to be a superstar?
When Jerry West traded for Kobe on draft day. The word was, he had had the best workout the Lakers had ever seen, and he became Jerry West’s priority.
What’s the biggest misconception from NBA fans of Kobe Bryant?
That he was selfish or all about Kobe. In reality, Kobe was all about winning. If he believed he was the best option at any moment, he would take the shot. In hindsight, he was right.
Remembering Kobe: A Look Back at Bryant’s Legendary Career
What is your opinion of the Lakers fanbase?
Passionate. Going to a Laker game is unlike going to any sporting event in the country. It’s an event. Some people go to be seen, and not see the game. The fanbase is loyal, and understands the game of basketball.
Was there anything in particular that Kobe did that moved you?
I always respected his work ethic, and attention to detail. His relentlessness . And I tried to apply some of those traits to what I do for a living.