RHCP's Flea Plays National Anthem At Kobe Bryant’s Final Game
"I've watched, listened to or at least read about pretty much every game that Kobe Bryant played his entire career," Flea says. "And I see someone who put a lot of stock in discipline and work ethic and nurturing his creativity. I just have always respected him so much – even when he was young and arrogant and foolish and you know, arguably self-centered. He's always meant so much to me. "I look at him as someone like, you know, Charlie Parker or John Coltrane or Jimmy Page or Jimi Hendrix, you know?" he continues. "He's been able to change and evolve and grow and be such a master of his craft. It's been great seeing him grow up, because he joined the Lakers when he was 17, and he's done so much for our city."
Flea has lived in Los Angeles for more than 40 years, and during that time, he's seen the fortunes of his favorite team rise and fall – but the one constant has been the way basketball has brought people together.
"I moved here in '72 and I love Los Angeles – and on top of that, I just love basketball; the way that it brings people of all economic and ethnic classes together is a beautiful thing," he says. "And after Magic and Kareem retired, having Kobe and Shaq and Pau and Lamar and Fish here meant everything to this city. To me, Kobe is just like a great artist or a great writer or a great musician. A great basketball player really affects me in a emotional and spiritual way. So I really respect Kobe Bryant. I'm really grateful for him."