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#pounditFriday, August 7, 2020

Kobe Bryant

Bucs CB changing his jersey to No. 24 as Kobe Bryant tribute

Kobe Bryant

Kobe Bryant’s death hit those who grew watching him play particularly hard, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers cornerback Carlton Davis is no exception.

Speaking with reporters this week, Davis said that he was changing his jersey number from No. 33 to No. 24 this season as a tribute to the late Los Angeles Lakers star. The 23-year-old also spoke in the impact Bryant had on his life.

“Kobe was my all-time favorite athlete ever since I was a kid,” said Davis, per Mark Inabinett of AL.com. “I really looked up to him and the way he carried himself as an athlete, the way he approached the game. His Mamba mentality was everything to me, something I adopted from a young age and I’ve always kept it with me. I’m a huge Lakers fan because of him.

“And just hearing about his death was just heart-breaking,” Davis went on. “I didn’t know what to think. I just hate to even think about it because it’s just so surreal that he’s really gone. He passed away way too soon. Yeah, I definitely switched my number because of him. He’s always been a guy who I chased after as far as his greatness and what he’s accomplished, so I would like to continue to do that with his number on.”

Davis, the former Auburn star, is about to enter his third NFL season. He made 14 starts for the Bucs in 2019, finishing fourth on the team with 60 combined tackles.

Several other NFL players will be making similar tributes to Bryant, the legendary five-time champion, including one on Bryant’s hometown team.

Kobe Bryant signed book for Klay Thompson with perfect message

Klay Thompson

Kobe Bryant died on January 26, but his legacy lives on strong.

Klay Thompson shared photos on Instagram Live Friday of his copy of “The Mamba Mentality“, which is Bryant’s book. Thompson called the book his “basketball bible”. He also called it the “greatest gift” he ever received.

Bryant also signed the book for Thompson along with a simple four-word message: “rings, rings, rings, rings …”

Bryant was obsessed with winning and ended up collecting five championship rings during his playing career. He would stop at nothing in his quest to win. He was trying to impart that winning mentality to others across the basketball world, as well as other fields.

Thompson has won three championships as a member of the Golden State Warriors and is a five-time All-Star. He and Kobe had a good relationship; Bryant also sent Klay a great autographed jersey in 2016.

Thompson is very clearly was moved by the inspiration Bryant left him.

Vanessa Bryant gets tattoos of messages from Kobe, Gigi

Vanessa Bryant speech

Vanessa Bryant is permanently memorializing her late husband and daughter, Gigi, through tattoos.

Vanessa shared videos on Instagram Wednesday of her getting tattooed. She said that she got a tribute to Gigi on her wrist.

“Shoutout to @nikkohurtado for coming over and helping me get my Gigi’s sweet message transferred on me. #throwbacktoFebruary,” Vanessa wrote.

She also got a tattoo message relating to Kobe around her shoulder/neck.

“I wanted my boo boo’s @kobebryant sweet message transferred on me. @nikkohurtado came through for me. Thank you! #inked #messagetransfer #BooBoo #throwback #tattooinmyhallway #QueenMamba #MambaMentality.”

It’s unclear what the exact messages Vanessa had tattooed on her, but she says they were messages relating to Kobe and Gigi. She says she got the work done in February.

That was after both Kobe and Gigi died on January 26 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. Current Los Angeles Lakers players LeBron James and Anthony Davis also got tattoos as tributes to Kobe soon after the Hall of Famer’s death.

Vanessa is currently suing the helicopter company and estate of late pilot Ara Zobayan over the fatal crash that killed nine people. Kobe was 41 when he died. Gigi was 13.

Vanessa Bryant seeking hundreds of millions in wrongful death lawsuit?

Vanessa Bryant speech

Vanessa Bryant is seeking damages in her wrongful death lawsuit against the helicopter company and pilot’s estate over the deaths of her husband Kobe and daughter, Gianna.

According to The Blast, Vanessa says in a new legal filing that she is seeking multiple times of damages that cost her family hundreds of millions in future earnings.

“As a result of Kobe Bryant’s and GB’s deaths, Vanessa Bryant seeks economic damages, non-economic damages, prejudgment interest, punitive damages, and other relief as the Court deems just and proper,” the filing reads. “Although the total specific amount of personal injury damages that Plaintiff seeks is TBD, Kobe Bryant’s future lost earnings equal hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Even though Kobe was retired from professional basketball, his future earnings are likely related to his possibilities in the entertainment and business industries.

Vanessa’s lawsuit accuses late pilot Ara Zobayan of flying recklessly through poor weather conditions. The suit also accuses the company, Island Express Helicopters, of conduct with “malice, oppression, or fraud” for employing Zobayan despite violating “weather-related flight rules in 2015.”

Kobe and Gianna were among the nine people on board the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter when it crashed on January 26 in Calabasas, Calif. There were no survivors of the fatal crash.

The helicopter company has claimed that the Bryants knew the risks/dangers of flying and say they are not responsible for damages. Another suit has been filed by other victims of the crash. Vanessa has also filed a legal claim over photos taken of the helicopter crash site.

Shareef O’Neal pays tribute to Kobe Bryant with jacket

Shareef O'Neal

Shareef O’Neal was close with Kobe Bryant and paid tribute to the late former Laker with a cool jacket.

Shareef, who is the son of Shaquille O’Neal, shared a photo on Instagram Saturday that showed him wearing the style of jacket that Kobe wore after winning the NBA championship in 2002.

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A post shared by Shareef O'Neal (@shareefoneal) on

That was the third of three championships in a row won by the Lakers. They beat the Pacers in 2000, the 76ers in 2001, and they swept the Nets in the 2002 NBA Finals.

Shaq and Kobe teamed up for those three championships before the team broke apart. Shaq later won a championship in Miami, while Kobe won two more with the Lakers. Whatever tension that existed between Shaq and Kobe was later worked out by the two stars, and Shaq has spoken glowingly about Kobe since January’s fatal helicopter crash.

You may also recall that Kobe texted Shareef hours before his death. Shareef began his college basketball career at UCLA but has since transferred to LSU.

Daniel Rodriguez seemed to dedicate UFC win to Kobe Bryant

UFC

Daniel Rodriguez won his UFC fight on Saturday night and then appeared to dedicate his win to Kobe Bryant.

The 33-year-old fighter beat Gabriel Green via unanimous decision in their welterweight fight at UFC on ESPN: Woodley vs. Burns at the UFC APEX in Las Vegas. At the end of his fight, Rodriguez seemed to say “for Kobe.”

Rodriguez is from Los Angeles, which could explain his support of the late former Laker.

Rodriguez is now 12-1 in his pro MMA career.

Ex-Kobe Bryant teammate shares story of seeing him again days before his death

Kobe Bryant

Tarik Black got to see Kobe Bryant one last time before Bryant’s tragic passing in January, and it is a memory that will stay with him forever.

Speaking this week with Matt Tait of KUsports.com, the former Los Angeles Lakers big man shared the story of his final encounter with Bryant, which happened just one week before Bryant’s death. Black, who had been playing professionally in Israel, suffered an injury that sent him back to Los Angeles earlier than normal, and he was able to see Bryant for the first time since they were teammates nearly four years earlier.

“I actually got a chance to thank him for what he meant for my life,” Black said. “And he just kept saying, ‘I’m proud of you.’ So it rocked me to my core when I heard about his passing.

“This is the thing that’s tough to admit, but I didn’t really like Kobe growing up,” Black added. “He seemed cocky, arrogant. But that’s a real testament to him as a man, that he could change my opinion of him like that. I love him now. I’ll appreciate him and everything he did for me for the rest of my life.”

Black was teammates with Bryant on the Lakers for Bryant’s last two seasons in the NBA from 2015 to 2016. He also shared what it was like to witness Bryant’s final career game against the Utah Jazz in the interview with Tait.

Black’s story is certainly a haunting one and also very similar to the encounter that another former Bryant teammate had with him around the same time.