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Jeanie Buss Says Phil Jackson Visited Kobe Bryant In January

In an Instagram post, Buss wrote that Jackson visited Bryant the same month that he was killed in a helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other people.

Kobe Bryant invited Phil Jackson to the Mamba Sports Academy to watch him coach his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, according to an Instagram post by Jeanie Buss. 

The Lakers owner added that Jackson visited Bryant in January, the same month that Bryant and Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash. 

Buss included a photo from the day of their visit with Bryant and Jackson standing next to each other smiling, as Bryant looked at his former coach. 

Jackson led Bryant and the Lakers to five NBA championships, including three consecutive titles in 2000-2002.  

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Buss also wrote that Bryant reached out to Jackson for book recommendations even after he retired in 2016. Jackson, an 11-time championship coach with the Lakers and Chicago Bulls, had a tradition of handing out different books to each of his players during the first long road trip of the year. 

In 2009-2010, the last season the Lakers won a championship, Jackson gave Bryant the book "Blink" by Malcolm Gladwell.

"Phil doesn’t coach a player for a season, he coaches him for a lifetime," Buss wrote. "This is why he is great coach but also one of the best human beings I know. He mentors former players and makes time to listen and encourage."

Jackson attended Bryant's and Gianna's public memorial at Staples Center on Feb. 24. 

"The crash was a tragedy for multiple families. My heart goes out to Vanessa and the families that lost loved ones," Jackson said in a statement to Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. "Kobe was a chosen one—special in many ways to many people. Our relationship as coach/player transcended the norm. He went beyond the veil."