The sudden death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna on Sunday morning is prompting an outpouring of tributes throughout the world.
Athletes across all sports are paying respects to the internationally beloved icon in their own unique ways, including on-camera shoutouts, “24” hand gestures — and even wearing jerseys.
Australian tennis phenom Nick Kyrgios added to the ever-growing list of Bryant tributes before his fourth round Australian Open match against Rafael Nadal.
The 24-year-old entered the court with visible emotion as he donned Bryant’s #8 Los Angeles Lakers jersey, which the late shooting guard wore for 10 seasons before switching to #24 in 2006.
Kyrgios, a well-known basketball fan, covered his face as he struggled to hold back tears.
Following his loss to the world number one Nadal, Kyrgios took to Instagram where he posted a brief tribute to the departed Lakers star and future NBA Hall-of-Famer.
“RIP Kobe,” he wrote. “Never forgotten.”
Fellow tennis star Stefanos Tsitsipas commemorated Bryant and his daughter via Twitter with a graphic image of the duo standing under a basketball hoop with halos over their heads.
Tsitsipas tweeted again hours later, “It’s been a long day without you, my friend.”
Watch Kyrgios’ tribute
Bryant and his daughter’s unexpected deaths in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California comes only six years after their family visit to Greece. The group visited tourist hotspots including Athens and Mykonos, where cameras inevitably followed.
The couple and their kids were friendly with passersby and let people take dozens of photos as they strolled through Mykonos town — with their body guard only steps away.
A relentlessly hard worker, Bryant had used the rare down-time to recover from an achilles heel injury that left him sidelined most of 2013-2014 season.
He later played until April 13, 2016, when he scored 60 points against the Utah Jazz in his final NBA game at the Staples Center.
His performance marked the most points scored by a player of his age, 37, and brought his 20-year career to a close.
Featured image: Quinn Rooney, Getty Images
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