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Paulo Coelho deletes draft of children’s book collaboration with Kobe Bryant

Alchemist author says basketball player’s death in helicopter crash means book has ‘lost its reason’

Author Paulo Coelho has deleted the draft of a children’s book he was working on with Kobe Bryant, saying that without the basketball player’s contribution, “this book has lost its reason”.

The bestselling Brazilian author revealed on Monday that he had been writing a children’s book with Bryant, a fan of Coelho’s spiritual fable, The Alchemist. Following the NBA legend’s death in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with his daughter and seven others, Coelho said he would delete what the pair had worked on together.

“You were more than a great player, dear Kobe Bryant. I learned a lot by interacting with you,” said Coelho. “Will delete the draft right now, this book has lost its reason.”

The novelist shared an exchange he had with Bryant last August, when the basketball player, a five-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist, suggested writing a book together. “Any time,” responded Coelho, who was deluged with pleas from fans to finish the book as a tribute to Bryant.

Fans mourn the death of Kobe Bryant at a mural near the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

He told the Associated Press that Bryant had wanted his book to show underprivileged children they could overcome adversity through sport. Through his multimedia company Granity Studios, Bryant worked with writers to publish children’s book series featuring sport and magic.

“What I had was an idea and I knew where I wanted the characters to go,” Bryant told USA Today about his book projects last week. “I know where they should start, and I know where they should end by the time this series is over … I had an idea, but I knew that [co-writers] could make it a thousand times better. So it was just kind of sitting back, sharing these ideas and just figuring it out.”

Coelho told AP that Bryant was “always very concerned about making a book that was a positive example for children, especially those coming from humble beginnings”.

“It went from there. Little by little we were going ahead,” he said. “I saw him enough times to assure he had much more than sports on his mind, it wasn’t all about competition. 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.”

Someday, added Coelho, he may write “about things I learned from Kobe and how much of a larger-than-life person he was. But the children’s book did not make sense any more.”

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