August 24 has long been known as Kobe Bryant Day and/or Mamba Day in honor of the late Los Angeles Lakers legend. But that day has become even more special to everyone around the world following the tragic helicopter crash that took the life of Kobe, his daughter Gianna, and seven others earlier this year.
Bryant made such an impact on so many people worldwide and his death hit home for so many people. Obviously, there are many players in the league who either played with or against Kobe in his career and one of the few who truly shared Khis intensity and desire to win at all costs is Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul.
The two were opponents plenty of times through the years, but were also Olympic teammates in 2008 and 2012. There are many stories about Kobe’s habits and work ethic standing out to the rest of the team and many on those rosters have spoken on the impact that experience had on them.
Many players looked to pay tribute to Kobe following his death, but one that has likely gone unnoticed is what Paul has been doing.
“People probably would never know this, but before the game I used to hit the stanchion three times before the jump ball,” Paul said following his team’s win over the Houston Rockets in Game 4 of their first-round series.
“I do eight now and look up and say, ‘Let’s go, Bean.’ Because I know what type of competitor he was.”
This is a really touching thing for Paul to do and shows how much Kobe really did mean to him. As he said, Bryant had a competitive unlike nearly anyone else the league has seen, and Paul is someone who can relate to that. There was undoubtedly a respect level there between the two.
Many players paid tribute on Kobe Day, be it with their attire before the game or messages on shoes. The Lakers probably paid the biggest tribute with their performance against the Portland Trail Blazers. But Paul’s tribute is one that will continue on well past one singular day.
Damian Lillard dedicates NBA 2K21 track to Kobe Bryant
So many players were deeply hurt and affected by the death of Kobe Bryant and many have been paying their respects ever since that tragic day. Pau Gasol, one of Kobe’s closest friends has been seen spending time with Kobe’s family and making sure they’re alright. Meanwhile Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard has his own way.
As good as Lillard is on the court, he is also is well known for his rap talent and now both of those things are coming together. Lillard was named as one of the cover athletes for NBA 2K21, with Kobe also being the cover athlete for the Legends Edition. But Lillard will also be a part of the soundtrack as well.
Lillard announced that his track entitled ‘Kobe’ featuring Snoop Dogg and Derrick Milano will be part of the NBA 2K21 soundtrack. For someone like Kobe who was able to expand his reach beyond the basketball court, Lillard paying tribute in this way is a fitting one.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!