LOS ANGELES — Baseball agent Scott Boras told the Los Angeles Times he will honor Kobe Bryant’s wishes and create an internship for the late John Altobelli’s surviving 16-year-old daughter, Alexis.
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka opened his speech Monday at Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s public memorial service at Staples Center by sharing a story about the future Hall of Famer’s request.
Pelinka said he was in church on Jan. 26 when he received a text message from Bryant, who wanted to know if he could help him contact “a certain baseball agent based in Southern California.” Bryant wanted to recommend Alexis Altobelli for an internship at the agent’s office.
While Bryant was texting Pelinka, he and his daughter were on the helicopter ride that would end their lives. Also on board were seven others, including John Altobelli, wife Keri and their younger daughter, 14-year-old Alyssa, who was Gianna Bryant’s teammate on the Mamba basketball team.
“Kobe’s last human act was heroic,” said Pelinka, who was Bryant’s longtime agent before taking over as Lakers GM in 2017, and he was Gianna’s godfather. “He wanted to use his platform to bless and a shape a young girl’s future.”
Within days of Bryant’s death, Boras said he was contacted by Pelinka, whom he had recently met at a Lakers game.
Boras was a longtime acquaintance of John Altobelli, the legendary Orange Coast College baseball coach. The agent said the coach always offered help but never asked for anything in return. When Boras’ client, pitcher Dallas Keuchel, was a free agent after the 2019 season started, the former Cy Young Award winner built his arm strength by pitching simulated games against Altobelli’s OCC players.
Boras’ sons were youth baseball players in Orange County around the same time as Altobelli’s son, J.J., who played in college at Oregon and is now a scout with the Boston Red Sox.
Boras and Bryant were part of the same congregation at Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Newport Beach. Boras said they spoke from time to time but never exchanged phone numbers.
Before John Altobelli died, Boras had invited him and Alexis to tour the Boras Corp. office. Boras said a plan was already in place for them to sit down and figure out how Alexis could gain experience working there.
Bryant wanted to be a character reference for her.
Boras has been in contact with J.J. and will create a position for Alexis, who will be able to rotate through the company’s various departments, including marketing, baseball operations, sports science and office administration.