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The power of sport: When Kobe and Didier helped lift a basketball player off rock bottom

Following Kobe Bryant’s tragic death in January, Chelsea’s official Instagram account uploaded some photos of the basketball great meeting Blues players back in 2010. One, with Bryant accompanied by Didier Drogba, has produced a heartwarming tale.

Adam Morrison was an NBA player who represented the Charlotte Bobcats and later the Los Angeles Lakers, where Bryant was a team-mate. However, despite having been a third overall pick in the 2006 NBA draft, his career had not reached the heights he had hoped for.

Following his release by the Lakers in 2010, Morrison was left without a team. The Montana-born power forward takes up the story, which he recently told to the Rejecting the Screen podcast. It is sure to lift your spirits during these difficult times, and highlight the positive impact sport can have beyond the realms of the playing field.

‘I wasn’t playing and I was really depressed,’ says Morrison, casting his mind back to 2010.

‘I was basically a hermit in my own house. I didn’t go out in the community and when I did people asked ‘why aren’t you playing?’.

‘I was 26 at the time, a really low point in my life, and I got a text from Robert Lara. He was Lakers security and one of Kobe’s best friends. He said ‘hey, what’s your address, I’ve got something in the mail for you.’

‘I get the package, and it’s an autographed jersey from Didier Drogba. I’m a Chelsea fan and he’s my favourite player. It was from Kobe. A game-worn jersey, signed by Didier Drogba, ‘To Adam, Best Wishes’. I always thought Kobe made a phone call, which would be fine, still cool as anything, unbelievable.

‘The night he passed, I’m scrolling through, reading everything, emotional, and on Chelsea’s Instagram page, it’s him with Didier Drogba holding up a jersey that says ‘To Adam, Best Wishes’. So he went up to my favourite player, got it signed for me without me even asking, and sent it to me when he knew I was low. That is what Kobe Bryant was.’

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