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Kobe Bryant’s Wish to ‘Die Young’ Sounds Eerily Similar to Another LA Icon 

Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:32 PM
Aaron Weaver
Last Updated September 23, 2020 1:32 PM
  • Tracy McGrady revealed that Kobe Bryant used to say that he wanted to “die young.”
  • Bryant’s prediction of an early death sounds similar to Tupac Shakur.
  • Tupac and Kobe will both be immortalized as legends in LA and beyond.

One day after Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna’s heartbreaking deaths, Tracy McGrady made an appearance on ESPN to share some surprising insights. 

A tearful McGrady, who was close to Bryant, said Kobe used to tell him he wanted to die young. 

This sounds crazy, but Kobe spoke this. He used to say all the time, “I want to die young. I want to be immortalized. You know, I want to have my career be better than Michael Jordan, and I want to die young.” 

As the city of Los Angeles and the world mourn this tragic ending, Bryant’s forecast of a young death draws an eerily similar comparison to another west coast icon. 

Much Like Kobe Bryant, Tupac Shakur Also Visualized His Own Death 

Tupac Shakur remains one of the most iconic representatives of modern West Coast culture. Los Angeles embraced Tupac, much like Kobe, as their collective son, before he became one of their heroes. 

When Tupac was tragically gunned down in Las Vegas in 1996 , the world was shocked. The music and acting icon suddenly left this world at the young age of 25. 

But there was so much mystery around Shakur’s death that it sparked waves of conspiracy theories.  Some claimed Tupac was still alive somewhere in the Caribbean or South Africa or, who knows, Australia. 


Theorists pointed to his moniker, “Makaveli,” which was named after an Italian war strategist who faked his own death.

Whether these theories have any merit, one thing is undeniable: Shakur talked about his own death – a lot. 

Tupac Shakur Talking About His Early Death

tupac death, kobe bryant
Like Kobe, Tupac frequently talked about dying young. | Source: Kraft74/Shutterstock.com

In 1995, Shakur released a song titled, “If I Die 2Nite.” Lyrics from the song detail his end: 

I hope they bury me and send me to my rest/Headlines readin’ ‘Murdered to death’/My last breath.

On another track by Richie Rich, Tupac rapped: 

I been shot and murdered, can tell you how it happened word for word/ But best believe n***** gon’ get what they deserve.

Then there was “I Ain’t Mad at Cha.” The music video showed Tupac getting killed by gunshot. In the rest of the video, he’s wearing all white, trying to speak to his friend from the afterlife. 

According to the Sun, Tupac told journalist AJ Benza that he was going to die young. Benza claims,  

I remember being at his hospital bedside after the first shooting and he said “not this time, but it’s coming.”

Kobe Bryant and Tupac Shakur shared other similarities. Both men were involved in controversial legal cases, and both were known for their storytelling abilities.  

Los Angeles Adds Another Immortalized Star 

Whether Kobe Bryant predicted his death or not, he will get his wish. Bryant will be immortalized as a legend.

Even while he was alive, Angelos were slow to accept LeBron James into their hearts because Kobe was taking up so much space. 

Vandals defaced murals of LeBron that said “the King of LA” in 2018. According to NBA Los Angeles, as the paintings were taken down, one passerby said, “[LeBron] ain’t no Kobe.” 

While Lakers fan having slowly started accepting LeBron, given his incredible play, it hasn’t been at Kobe’s expense. On the contrary, even diehard Lakers fans might experience heartbreak so intense from Bryant’s death, that they’ll break right open and stop rejecting LeBron over dated rivalries. 

Now that Kobe is gone, his legend, much like Tupac, will continue to live on in the hearts of millions for generations to come.

Tupac gives us a template on how to grieve in his song “Unconditional Love”: 

In this game the lesson’s in your eyes to see
Though things change, the future’s still inside of me
We must remember that tomorrow comes after the dark
So you will always be in my heart, with unconditional love