Jan 28, 2020
Kobe Bryant and the Big Idaho Potato Truck

Kobe Bryant played a role in the course one of the Idaho Potato Commission’s biggest marketing tools.

Bryant, the NBA legend who tragically died along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, used to speak regularly with sports reporter Heather Cox during Bryant’s lengthy career with the Los Angeles Lakers. Cox also served as a spokesperson for the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC).

In 2016, the commission was in the midst of a marketing campaign based around the notion that the Big Idaho Potato Truck, which tours the country each year, had gotten lost. Longtime IPC President and CEO Frank Muir told KTVB in Boise on Monday that, at the time, some of the commissioners were questioning whether the Big Idaho Potato Truck had served its purpose and should be taken off the road.

Cox said Bryant used to comment on the Big Idaho Potato Truck commercials to her and would tease, “Did you find the truck yet?” Muir said Bryant’s notice and memory of the commercials was used as evidence that the marketing campaign was working effectively.

“Technically he didn’t really save the truck, but I used that story in our commission meeting to explain the value of keeping the truck on the road,” Muir told KTVB. Muir added that numerous celebrities have ties to the truck, but the Bryant story is one of his favorites.

Cox, who is now with NBC and no longer works with the IPC, said Bryant’s will to win was unmatched. Away from the court and off camera, he was caring toward everyone he came across.

“He showed this respect and level of appreciation,” Cox said in an NBC interview. “I think he appreciated what everybody did.”

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