At private dinner for Kobe, stars offer wine and Netflix subscription

Kobe Bryant and Dwyane Wade.
Issac Baldizon/National Basketball Association

In the wee hours of Sunday morning in frozen Toronto, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul and Carmelo Anthony warmly celebrated Kobe Bryant’s coming retirement with a private dinner.

In a story captured by Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press, The All-Stars gave Bryant gifts, including a bottle of wine, 1996 vintage, in honor of the year Bryant broke into the league. Wade presented him with a robe and other clothes bearing the Wade logo, as well as a year subscription to Netflix, an obvious nod to the large amount of free time Bryant will have as he settles into retirement.

Reynolds reported that Bryant gave a toast with these words to his fellow players at the dinner:

"This is amazing," Bryant said at the restaurant, glass in hand. "I’m not the most social person, so to get this from you guys means absolutely everything to me."

Kobe also added this serious note, according to Reynolds:

"The thing that I’ll miss is matching up with you guys," Bryant told Wade, Anthony and Paul. "Vanessa will tell you: I’ll be in the bed for hours — hours, man — not sleeping, watching film on you guys because you are driving me (expletive) crazy."

Reynolds noted that Paul supplied Bryant with numerous gifts that every retiree needs, including dental adhesive, reading glasses, compression socks and a cane. Anthony gave him a magnum of Gaja Barbaresco, Italian wine for the player who grew up in Italy and says much like vino itself, he got better with age.

Wade told Reynolds that throwing the lavish early morning dinner party was all about showing respect for one of the game’s greatest all-time players:

"Respect," Wade said. "That’s what it was. It was about respect, ours for him and the respect he’s given us. I just wanted to tell him that his respect meant a lot, means a lot, to my career. I went down a list of moments, gave people insight on Kobe and the way he thinks. It was just appreciation, man. His drive, his competitiveness, it helped me early in my career because I wanted to be on his level."

Reynolds reported that Paul, Anthony and Wade started this gathering during last year’s All-Star Weekend and dubbed it the Gentleman’s Supper Club. It was certainly classy to invite Bryant and hold the dinner in his honor.