How Kobe Bryant Unknowingly Saved The Big Idaho Potato Truck
As we pass the second anniversary of the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, many will talk about his accomplishments. They should because the list is long. 20 years in the NBA spent entirely with the Los Angeles Lakers, where he won five NBA Championships and became the league's fourth-leading scorer of all time. He may have never played a game in Idaho, but he contributed to the state in a way that not everyone knows about.
You may remember the beginning of the Famous Idaho Potato Tour, which the Idaho Potato Commission launched in 2012. If you lived in other states, you probably saw some hilarious commercials about the Big Idaho Potato Truck having gone missing. If you missed those, check one out below.
After four years, the commission had wondered if the concept had run its course. After all, it was expensive to keep the 72-foot long truck that carried a four-ton potato all over the country on the road.
NBC sportscaster Heather Cox has been a long-time spokesperson for the Idaho Potato Commission. She was covering one of Kobe's final games in 2016. During the postgame interview, Kobe asked her about the campaign. "Have they found the truck yet?"
Idaho Potato Commission President and CEO Frank Muir happened to be watching. According to Fox News, that moment made him realize that the campaign was working. The truck and the giant potato had become a part of American pop culture. Plans to decommission the truck were scrapped, and it remains on the road to this day, thanks to Kobe Bryant.