Bryant, who is a lifelong Catholic, actually paid a visit to Our Lady Queen of Angels in Newport Beach, California, shortly before Sunday’s 7 a.m. Mass, Rev. Steve Sallot told CBS Los Angeles.
“I saw him yesterday (Sunday) before the 7 a.m. mass,” Sallot said. “We chatted for a couple of minutes, and then he moved on, and obviously, he was going to the airport yesterday morning.”
Sallot said Kobe and the rest of the Bryant family were frequent parishioners at Queen of Angels. The family have lived in Newport Beach for years.
“He was quite a man of faith,” Sallot said.
On this particular morning, Kobe did not stay for the 7 a.m. service.
“We shook hands, and I saw that he had blessed himself because there was a little holy water on his forehead,” Sallot said. “So I knew that he’d gone into the chapel to pray and came out and blessed himself. And then we spoke for a minute, shook hands, and then off he went.”
Their brief conversation centered around Kobe’s desire to go through confirmation, Sallot disclosed.
“He was baptized Catholic as a child, I believe, when his parents were in Italy,” Sallot said.
Kobe, his daughter Gianna and seven others died when their helicopter went down in the Calabasas hills last Sunday.
Everybody on board were headed to Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, where he was set to coach Gianna in a tournament game.
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