Kobe Bryant was a great basketball player. His sport-specific skills – shooting, dribbling, positioning – were incredible.
But his competitiveness and work ethic transcended basketball. Those traits earned him admirers far and wide.
Tennis star Nick Kyrgios wore a Bryant jersey to warm up for the Australian Open:
Nick Kyrgios walked out in Kobe's jersey and is wearing it while warming up pic.twitter.com/7SkSzFoKSi
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) January 27, 2020
After his fourth-round loss to Rafael Nadal, Kyrgios – wearing a different Kobe jersey – shared his perspective on Bryant:
Basketball is practically my life, and I watch it every day, and I’ve been following it for as long as I can remember.
If anything, it motivated me. If you look at the things he stood for and what he wanted to be remembered by, I felt like, if anything, it helped me tonight.
I’m a Celtics fan, and so when I saw Kobe do what he does and break the hearts of so many Celtics fans, it was tough to see. But I don’t think they make them like him anymore. He was different. The way he trained, the way he did things, the way he played was special. It’s just sad.