STEPHEN Coniglio has told of his incredible meeting with the late basketball megastar Kobe Bryant, revealing the remarkable lengths that the five-time NBA champion had gone to in researching the Greater Western Sydney captain before their catch-up.
Giants CEO Dave Matthews set up the meeting between Coniglio and Bryant in Newport Beach in Los Angeles in November last year, with the pair discussing the art of leadership during an enthralling 45-minute conversation.
Speaking of the chat with Damian Barrett in a wide-ranging interview on AFL.com.au, Coniglio said that Bryant – who tragically passed away in a helicopter crash at the age of 41 in January – was so invested in the meeting, he even knew about his contract situation.
Bryant also sent Coniglio a follow-up message on Instagram on New Year's Day, less than a month before his death, which read 'buon anno' – translating to 'Happy New Year' in Italian – and wishing him well for the 2020 season.
"Mainly we were chatting about how I became captain," Coniglio said.
"He was saying how he had to change his mentality and be more about the team than himself. He was saying that initially that was hard for him, but it actually benefited him and his game in the long run.
"Obviously that was with the rings that he won … whereas at the start it was just about being the best player in the world.
"He was great. I walked in and didn't know what to expect, but straightaway he said: 'How's the knee? Congratulations on staying … I read you're Italian, I lived in Italy with my father'.
"Whether he researched that or his PA, it was just amazing."