Vanessa Bryant took to Instagram Tuesday to celebrate the release of her late husband’s “Wizenard” book series, a fantastical tale set in the world of basketball.
Prior to his untimely passing, Kobe Bryant worked on the “The Wizenard Series: Season One” with his creative partner, author Wesley King.
“He was much more involved than people might imagine,” says King, who was also Bryant’s collaborator on the 2019 bestselling young-adult novel “Training Camp.”
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“There were many weeks where it was two, three, four phone calls a day, and 5,000 text messages. Kobe texted more than anyone in history of existence,” King tells PEOPLE.
He would also call the Nova Scotia-based writer at any hour of the night.
“He would call about something incredibly obscure, literally about what a guy [in the chapter] was wearing, like one sentence, and would be very laser-focused in on this,” says King. “He would call you at obscene hours because he was so deeply involved and cared so much about the story. It was a very collaborative process.”
Through his book projects, Bryant hoped to inspire generations to come.
“It almost sounds cliché, but he’d say, ‘If one kid picks this book up and finds the faith in himself to persevere, we did our job … We’re doing this for that one kid’,” he says. “Kobe really believed that.”
He continued, “He wanted to be remembered as a storyteller. That legacy is of course going to live on.”
Inside the book features a quote from Kobe that reads: “To young athletes who commit to doing the hard work. The process always pays off.”
Kobe, as well as his teenage daughter Gianna, were killed with seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Jan. 26. The group was headed to a basketball practice at Bryant’s Mamba Academy in nearby Thousand Oaks.
“Now I really wish I’d get a 4 a.m. text message telling me to make a blue wall red [in the story],” says King. “I miss the passion of our conversations and his assured sense of ‘We’re going to change the world’ and ‘There’s nothing that’s going to stop us.’”
In Vanessa’s Instagram post on Tuesday, she shared the book’s cover along with the caption: “Welcome back to Dren! We hope you are all ready to catch up with the West Bottom Badgers for another magical basketball season. The #Wizenard Series: Season One is OUT NOW,” she wrote. Check out her post above.
Vanessa shares three other daughters with Kobe: Natalia, 17; Bianca, 3; and baby Capri.