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Kyrie Irving honors Kobe Bryant with video tribute

Kyrie Irving, Kobe Bryant, Nets, Lakers

Brooklyn Nets All-Star Kyrie Irving shared a close relationship with Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant.

In light of what would have been The Black Mamba’s 42nd birthday (Sunday), Uncle Drew sent out a touching video tribute for his friend and mentor:

“Kobe means to me what it means to plant seeds and watch them grow,” Irving noted in his video tribute to Bryant. “To endure pain, trauma and hurt, and go through an array of negative emotions, how you feel about yourself.”

Kobe Bryant took several young players under his proverbial wing in the latter stages of his life, offering guidance both on and off the court. Irving became one of Bryant’s brightest pupils, so to speak.

After winning a championship with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, overcoming a 3-1 deficit against the Golden State Warriors, Irving’s first call was to Bryant, who was sitting on his couch with his daughter, Gianna. Kobe even admitted just how close he was to Kyrie:

“Kyrie’s in the locker room celebrating on FaceTime like, ‘Dude, it worked! Your advice worked!,’” Bryant said, via SI.com. “I was really, really proud of him. So I’d say Kyrie is the one I’m closest to.”

Kyrie Irving’s relationship with Kobe Bryant goes beyond that FaceTime call, though. On many occasions, Kyrie would reach out to Kobe for advice. The two discussed loads of topics, including shoes, Bryant’s retirement, injury concerns, and even Irving’s move to the Brooklyn Nets.

Irving took Kobe’s passing harder than most. In fact, Irving was visibly emotional during the national anthem of a game shortly after Bryant’s passing:

Kobe Bryant was taken far too soon, but the Mamba Mentality he left behind will live on through his students.