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Naomi Osaka is getting sentimental while celebrating her “Kobe year.”

2021 US Open - Day 1

Source: Sarah Stier / Getty

The tennis star posted an absolutely adorable throwback photo of herself as a baby on Saturday, October 16 in honor of her 24th birthday. In the picture, she’s wearing a pink outfit and a tiny pair of Nike sneakers as she looks directly into the camera.

“24, Kobe year,” Osaka began her post, referring to late Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, with whom she was close prior to his passing in 2020.

“I just wanna say I’m so extremely grateful, thank you everyone for all the birthday wishes ❤️,” she continued. “When I was younger it was just my sister and parents who wished me happy birthday, now a few years later to have people all over the world doing the same… Surreal emotions. Feeling very thankful, honored and blessed 🥺❤️.”

Another person Naomi has now to wish her a happy birthday is her Grammy-nominated boyfriend, Cordae, who shared a sweet birthday tribute to the superstar on Instagram over the weekend.

“Happy birthday to a real Goat! love ya ❤️ ❤️ @naomiosaka,” he wrote.

Beyond her hard work and dedication on the court, Osaka launched her new brand KINLÒ in Seotember, which is designed with people of color’s needs in mind. It’s a “project that I’ve been working on with my team for the past year,” Osaka explained on her Instagram Story at the time.

“As a POC I started learning about skin cancer rates affecting people like me wondered why there wasn’t a great product that feels good and protects our skin,” she wrote. “So I founded @kinloskin which is a functional skin care line for people with melanated skin.”

“Tennis can be challenging at times but it has given me this platform which I am so grateful for and allows me to help others in ways I wouldn’t have imagined otherwise,” Naomi added. “Hope you like it!”


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