The entire Los Angeles Lakers organization was devastated by the loss of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant, and seven others in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26.
However, a few within the Lakers felt his death a bit deeper than others and that includes Anthony Davis.
Davis spent the 2012 Summer Olympics with Bryant as the youngest member of the team by about four years. The leader of that team was a 33-year old Bryant, who took Davis under his wing and taught him about professionalism in the NBA.
Following Bryant’s death, Davis felt it was right to get a tattoo commemorating him and the time he spent with him at Team USA, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
“It’s just crazy that I’m here playing where he built his legacy on the floor, so I thought it was something to honor him and always remember the times that we had and how I really got started in the NBA life. And then it’s crazy… after that, LeBron was next. It was him, LeBron, and Tyson… those are the guys that kind of took me under their wing. So it was just something I wanted to remember him by and something I can always look at and say he was my guy.”
Having Bryant as a first mentor is probably the best thing any 19-year-old entering the league can ask for and it also serves as a testament of how much he loved to pay his knowledge forward.
It was well known that Bryant became a full-time mentor to today’s young players after he retired, but to see that he was doing those same things while still putting up MVP-caliber numbers shows what type of human being he was.
It’s hard to imagine the pain Davis is feeling, losing his first true mentor in the game of basketball. However, it’s just another example of how far-reaching and long-lasting Bryant’s legacy is and will be.