Since making his MLB debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2017, Cody Bellinger has established himself as one of baseball’s brightest stars.
He set multiple franchise records as a rookie, reached the World Series in each of his first two seasons, and most recently, is coming off a historic 2019 campaign that culminated with National League MVP honors.
Bellinger now enters the 2020 season as a household name across the sport. Playing in a city filled with stars, there haven’t been many moments in his MLB career which he came away starstruck.
One exception is when Bellinger met Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant in the Dodgers’ video room prior to Game 4 of the 2018 World Series, via MLB:
“So, 100% it was Kobe Bryant. It was right before [a World Series game], I was in the video room and Kobe walks in. I look up and I was like, ‘Oh, man. This is Kobe Bryant.’ He was like, ‘Man, I love that you’re watching video right before a game.’ I remember trying to say words. I wanted to say what’s up to him but I couldn’t figure out what to say. I really was speechless. We ended up taking a picture and it was probably like a three-to-five-minute conversation. By far the coolest person that I’ve ever met. … It was crazy, man. I was so starstruck.”
Bellinger and Bryant previously were intertwined in May 2018, when the Lakers great sent the Dodgers’ All-Star an autographed pair of the Nike Zoom Kobe 1 Protro ‘Final Seconds.’
Bryant additionally congratulated Bellinger in a video message prior to receiving his NL MVP Award in New York this past January. Bellinger watched the clip just a day before Bryant, and eight others, tragically passed away in a helicopter crash in Calabasas.
Bryant’s death shocked the sports world, and particularly Bellinger, who recalled finding out about the news on his flight back from New York.
A plethora of Dodgers players, including Bellinger, immediately took to Twitter and posted tributes to Bryant. Manager Dave Roberts also drew inspiration from Bryant while addressing the clubhouse in the team’s first Spring Training meeting.
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