Bryant’s ill-fated foray into rap was inspired by his Lakers teammate Shaquille O’Neal, who has released several rap albums. The beginnings of O’Neal Shaq Diesel, has been certified platinum for sales of over one million albums. Marketer Steve Stoute, head of Sony’s urban music department, attempted to replicate that success with Bryant, but ultimately failed to match Bryant’s personality with the tone of the time.
On Saturday, Bryant will become a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, alongside fellow inductees Patrick Baumann, Tamika Catchings, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens, Eddie Sutton and Rudy Tomjanovich. The ceremony will take place at the Mohegan Sun Resort & Casino in Uncasville, Conn.