Mehdi Peredes was struggling to get healthy, recovering from a life-threatening car accident. Until he got a personalized message from his idol: Kobe Bryant.
“Hey Mehdi. How you doing? I heard that you were in a horrible accident. But understand that you are also a fighter,” says Bryant says in the video. “My thoughts and prayers are with you, man. And I would tell you to be tough and be strong, but you got that already.”
“When he saw (the video), he teared up, and there was just this immense feeling of he could get through this because he had been feeling so down,” explains Souad Ziani, Mehdi’s mother.
She says the day they got the video, her son had already been in the hospital for two months, unable to move, and he just came out another surgery. The young athlete had the support of family and friends. But Ziani says Kobe’s message motivated her son to get better.
“To have something like that, to hold on to, and to give him that (feeling) that he could do it, and that he wouldn’t give up. And he just kept going,” says Ziani.
Diana Evans-Harris runs the East bay Soldiers Youth Basketball program in Richmond, which Mehdi played in for years.
Two years ago she took a group to a tournament to southern California, where she met Bryant, who was coaching his daughter’s team.
Mehdi couldn’t make it since he was still in the hospital. So she got Kobe to record the message.
“He says, ‘What is the young man’s name?’ And I said his name. And he says, ‘Do you have your phone?’ And I said ‘Yes!’ and he says, ‘Turn it on!’ And he did this amazing shout-out!,” says Evans-Harris.
The family says, just this week, after 26 surgeries, the doctors finally gave Mehdi a clean bill of health. His mom says she wishes Kobe Bryant knew just how much his words impacted her son.
Ziani says, “(Mehdi) said, I am going to run again. I am going to walk. I am going to play basketball!” Just like his idol.