Kyrie Irving pays one-emoji tribute in remembrance of Kobe and Gianna Bryant

Brad Sullivan
2 Min Read

Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving took time on Sunday to pay tribute to the legacies of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and Bryant’s daughter Gianna.


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The Mamba reference is connected to the “Black Mamba” nickname that the elder Bryant gave himself during the course of his iconic career.

Both Bryants, as well as seven other people, tragically died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, 2020, as the group was traveling to a basketball tournament.

The death of the elder Bryant resonated across the world and became even more painful when it was discovered that the younger Bryant was also on board.

Irving was one of the countless NBA players, both past and present, who expressed his deep sadness upon hearing the news of the helicopter crash.

The pain felt by Irving was largely due in part to the bond that he had established with the elder Bryant over the years. Even though the elder Bryant retired after the 2015-16 season following 20 years in the NBA, he continued to offer counsel to Irving until his death.

Like most people, Irving’s pain over the death of the younger Bryant stemmed from the fact that she was only 13 years old at the time. In addition, she was in the midst of following in her father’s footsteps as a basketball player.

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Brad is a freelance writer for, who can clearly recall watching Lakers games in 1972 as they captured the first of their 11 Los Angeles-based titles. The franchise's evolution into a beloved and iconic franchise among its fan base since that memorable year allows for a wider perspective to be a part of his writing about the team's current fortunes.