LeBron James, basketball world honor Kobe Bryant on his birthday, Mamba Day
MANILA, Philippines—The world of basketball and the sport’s figures paid their tributes to the late Kobe Bryant, who would have turned 45 years old on August 23.
The Los Angeles Laker legend, who tragically passed away three years ago in a helicopter crash with his daughter Gigi, was commemorated by several notable players on his birthday, including current Laker star LeBron James.
LeBron posted a photo of him and a young Bryant dapping it up with a caption of infinity and snake emojis, symbolizing the latter’s “Black Mamba” moniker.
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Bryant’s long-time teammate and 2023 NBA Hall of Famer Pau Gasol also took to Twitter to remember his friend on such a special day.
“Happy birthday brother,” wrote Gasol.
Fellow Hall of Famer and Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade also took a moment to remember Bryant via Instagram post, showing Bryant’s game-winning shot over the Heat back in 2009.
“Game. The Great Kobe Bryant. We miss you brother,” wrote Wade.
Happy birthday brother ❤️ pic.twitter.com/iwTjDKpwnX
— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) August 23, 2023
Isaiah Thomas, who at one point played against Bryant during his time with the Sacramento Kings, paid tribute to the NBA legend, saying he was someone Thomas feared in the hardcourt.
“[I] can’t believe I got the chance to share the court with you… Then you become a real mentor of mine!!! Happy birthday, @kobebryant,” wrote the shifty guard.
“First time in my life I was actually scared of somebody on the basketball court. I tried for so long in this game to get his attention and he just looked straight through me like I wasn’t even there.”
NBA teams and basketball-related accounts also came out with their respective tribute posts and messages along with Mamba Day, celebrated on August 24 as a combination of Bryant’s jersey numbers 8 and 24.
UCLA Health also paid tribute to the Tinseltown legend by gifting babies born on the same day as Bryant’s with special care packages.
Purple & Gold family from day one.
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) August 24, 2023
“Purple & Gold family from day one. In honor of Kobe’s birthday, babies born this week are receiving special care packages thanks to @UCLAHealth,” wrote the official Lakers’ X account.
Jordan Clarkson, who is in the Philippines to play for Gilas Pilipinas for the Fiba World Cup, also commemorated his “G.O.A.T.” and talked about him in a interview with Fiba.