NEW YORK—Kobe Bryant has been spending quality time at the US Open and it's not just because he's a big fan of tennis, and Naomi Osaka. The retired NBA legend is promoting his new book, "Legacy and the Queen".
Bryant, a 20-year star on the NBA, started transitioning to storytelling during his final season, and picked up tennis just a week after his last game.
"At the beginning of my last season that’s when I started writing," he said. "That’s when I started really executing what was going to come next. Having four daughters at home it was like, I need to create content for my children."
Bryant's daughters are aged 16, 13, 2 and two months. "Legacy and the Queen" is Granity Studios' second book (Bryant is a writer, producer and CEO at the multimedia original content company).
The fantasy novel, which goes on sale Tuesday, centers around a 12-year-old girl who is passionate about tennis and tries to win a tournament to help save her father's orphanage. The story—which is written by Annie Matthew and created by Bryant—is set in a fictional place called Nova, where magic helps Legacy find extra powers in her game.
"I wanted to take something that had a fantasy appeal to it and connect that to sports," Bryant said. "Tennis has those qualities, those challenges. If I'm trying to teach [my daughters] how to navigate through society as they get older, what are some sports that can really teach them?"
Bryant spent time talking tennis and watching it in New York when he came to Tennis Channel's set with Jon Wertheim, and was spotted in Osaka's player box for her second-round win.
"She’s one of the players I sent the book to first and foremost," Bryant said. "She enjoyed the read. We got together out in Newport Beach and did some promos with it."
Kobe Bryant with Colin Kaepernick watching Osaka's match. pic.twitter.com/ZSUdTrYkse— Michael Gallo (@Galloots) August 29, 2019
The 41-year-old and the world No. 1 have a bit of a budding friendship.
"I know Kobe," Osaka said. "Everybody knows Kobe gives me real-life advice. He's someone I look up to as an athlete and also as a person. I'm really grateful that I even have the opportunity to talk to him and stuff."
On Friday, Bryant was on court to help kick off Roger Federer's third-round match against Dan Evans.
After winning five NBA championship trophies, Bryant quickly turned his attention to other endeavors. Last year, he won an Oscar for Dear Basketball, an animated short he wrote and helped produce. "Legacy and the Queen" is his third book after creating a basketball-themed fantasy novel titled "The Wizenard Series: Training Camp" (written by Wesley King), that came out in March. He published his first book, "The Mamba Mentality: How I Play", last year.
Wake up every morning with Tennis Channel Live at the US Open, starting at 8 a.m. ET. For three hours leading up to the start of play, Tennis Channel's team will break down upcoming matches, review tournament storylines and focus on everything Flushing Meadows.
Tennis Channel's encore, all-night match coverage will begin every evening at 11 p.m. ET, with the exception of earlier starts on Saturday and Sunday of championship weekend.