Kyrie Irving shared a deep bond with the late great Kobe Bryant, which he documents with a tribute video released on the Mamba’s birthday.
Nothing can be more fulfilling than developing a connection to the person you have admired all your life. Not just Kyrie, but every kid who grew up in the 2000s playing basketball had idolized Kobe Bryant. Hence, it was not too far-fetched to assume that Kyrie cherished the bond he shared with the 5-time champ.
While he did not get the chance to play against Kobe a lot due to the injury struggles of the Laker great in his later years, the two trained together frequently and shared a deep love for the game.
Kyrie Irving first met Kobe Bryant in 2011 at Team USA’s Select Camp for London 2012
Kobe and Kyrie share very similar styles on the court as well. Their mid-range games are pure poetry in motion, while both have ice running through their veins in game-altering clutch situations. So, it is pretty clear why someone like Kyrie would hold Kobe in extremely high regard.
In a podcast with Kevin Durant, Kyrie revealed he had challenged Kobe to a one-on-one duel during the Olympic camp. While Kobe had respectfully brushed him aside, just the legend’s aura was enough to awe him. The experience also made Kobe respect him, he believes.
View this post on Instagram
In a video released from Kyrie’s Instagram handle, he discusses how Kobe taught him to challenge himself every day and inspire others through his actions. Kyrie also appreciated “how Kobe took care of his family and then how he went about his business”, and wanted to emulate the same.
While the legend was snatched from us too early, it’s wonderful to see how his spirit and love from the game has percolated to the new generation. Rest in power, Mamba.