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Kobe Bryant continues to be one of the biggest inspirations for athletes, no matter what sport they play.

US Open Tennis Championship 2023

Source: Tim Clayton – Corbis / Getty

After Novak Djokovic defeated Daniil Medvedev to win the Men’s US Open title on Sunday, the tennis champ unzipped his hoodie to reveal a tribute to the late Kobe Bryant. The athlete wore a T-shirt featuring a photo of him and the NBA star along with the words “Mamba Forever” written around it.

According to Djokovic, this shirt is something he wanted to make happen for a long time, speaking about his experiences with Bryant before his tragic death in 2020.

“I thought of doing this T-shirt eventually, if I get the chance to win the tournament, about seven days ago,” he said following his win. “I didn’t share it with anyone until a few days ago when I asked my people to help me out to make this shirt. Kobe was a close friend, we chatted a lot about the winner’s mentality.”

Novak also wore a zip-up with a 24 patch stitched on, going on to talk about how the Lakers star guided him throughout this career.

“When I was struggling with an injury and trying to make my comeback, work my way back to the top of the game, he was one of the people I relied on the most,” he shared. He was always there for any kind of council, advice, any kind of support in the most friendly way.”

“What happened a few years ago with him and his daughter passing hurt me deeply,” the 24-time Grand Slam winner told the crowd at Arthur Ashe stadium. “I thought, 24 is the jersey that he wore when he became a legend of the Lakers and of world basketball. I thought it could be a nice, symbolic thing to acknowledge him for all the things he’s done.”

Congrats to Novak Djokovic on his big win!


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