Renowned Brazilian novelist, Paulo Coelho, has decided to delete a draft of a children’s book he was writing with late basketball star, Kobe Bryant, saying that it did not make sense to continue the project after the NBA legend’s death.
The 41-year-old NBA star alongside his 13-year old basketball-daughter, Gianna and seven other people were tragically killed in an air crash on Sunday. They were on their way to a youth basketball tournament.
Mr Coelho, the author of “The Alchemist” and the basketball star, had, in August, started a children’s book project —aimed at inspiring underprivileged children to overcome adversity through sports.
The 72-year-old novelist told The Associated Press on Monday that the two men started discussing the project in 2016, when Mr Bryant called his 20-year NBA career quit.
Hours after the world received with shock the news of the NBA legend’s death, Mr Coelho tweeted he was discontinuing the writing project, amidst grief.
“You were more than a great player, dear Kobe Bryant,” the best-selling author wrote. “I learned a lot by interacting with you. Will delete the draft right now, this book has lost its reason.”
After his Twitter post, Mr Coelho was deluged to stay the course, and publish the book as a tribute to the five-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist.
But, the novelist said he could not do it.
“I deleted the draft because it didn’t make any sense to publish without him,” Mr Coelho told Associated Press on phone from his home in Geneva. “It wouldn’t add anything relevant to him or his family.
“That doesn’t stop me from writing someday about things I learned from Kobe and how much of a larger-than-life person he was,” he added. “But the children’s book did not make sense anymore.”
The project was very casual, Mr Coelho said, sharing a screenshot of a message the basketball star sent him in August, after the two hadn’t communicated for several months.
“Let’s right that book together,” the basketball star wrote, before texting the correct spelling of “write.”
“It went from there. Little by little we were going ahead,” Mr Coelho said.
The writer did not share how much of the book was already completed or whether it had a title.
“Kobe was always very concerned about making a book that was a positive example for children, especially those coming from humble beginnings,” Mr Coelho said.
Mr Bryant was a fan of Mr Coelho’s and had recommended “The Alchemist” — which he called his “favorite book” — to former teammate Kyrie Irving as well as Rob Pelinka, his former agent who now runs the Lakers’ basketball operations.
The basketballer’s Granity Studios has released middle grade and young adult novels, as well as the player’s autobiography, “The Mamba Mentality: How I Play,” in 2018.
“I saw him enough times to assure he had much more than sports on his mind, it wasn’t all about competition,” Mr Coelho recalled. “His tragic death has shown already how he was important to the world, not only to the United States. We will discuss his legacy for many years, much beyond sport,” he told the Asociated Press.
A Twitter user, @ZameerKhAn08, said: “he (Mr Bryant) would have wanted you (Mr Coelho) to finish and release it.”
He would have wanted you to finish and release it.
— Zameer Khan (@ZameerKhAn08) January 26, 2020
Another user who tweeted @agust_d007 urged the writer to make the book “a tribute and donate the profit to charity that would be nice but in the end, it’s your choice.”
“Please Mr. Coelho, do not put an end to this story like his untimely goodbye. I enjoyed your story telling and your characters for a long long time. I believe it is time to tell Kobe’s story,” @esinmft tweeted.
Please Mr.Coelho, do not put an end to this story like his untimely goodbye. I enjoyed your story telling and your characters for a long long time. I believe it is time to tell Kobe's story…
— esin (@esinmft) January 27, 2020