Tennis player Nick Kyrgios has honoured NBA legend Kobe Bryant ahead of his much-anticipated Australian Open match against Rafael Nadal.
Beloved LA Lakers player Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna (Gigi) were among 9 people killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday.
As a dedicated NBA fan, Kyrgios wore a #8 LA Lakers jersey as he entered Rod Laver Arena on Monday night for the highly-anticipated match against Rafael Nadal. Looking visible grief-stricken, Kyrgios showed his respect to the late Bryant and the rest of the victims.
After entering the arena, Kyrgios sat in the players chair for an extended period of time, paying respect to Bryant before warming up for the match.
Despite being a fan of Lakers rivals the Boston Celtics, Kyrgios was in tears as he mourned the loss of one of the greatest players the league has ever seen.
A tribute video was also screened before the players entered the arena, as a sign of the Australian Open’s respect after the tragic event.
Other players like Naomi Osaka and Novak Djokovic also paid their respects in tributes to Bryant, who was a mentor to many athletes both in basketball and across many other aspects of professional sport.
I can’t. pic.twitter.com/Vc3dJZztYS
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) January 27, 2020
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My heart truly mourns over the news today. Kobe was a great mentor and friend. There are not enough words to express my deepest sympathies to the Bryants and every family suffering from this tragedy. May God bless you and your Gianna. Thank you for being there for me and inspiring the entire world. Thank you for showing all of us athletes how to compete and respect sport. Thank you for the greatest legacy you leave behind with us. I’ll never forget your smile spreading positive energy everywhere you went. You and your daughter will live forever ♾ in our hearts ❤️. RIP amico mio. Ti voglio bene.