Illinois Player Ayo Dosunmu Pays Tribute to Kobe Bryant with Photo After Winning Big Ten Title

Ayo Dosunmu and the University of Illinois won the Big Ten Tournament championship over Ohio State on Sunday night

Ayo Dosunmu
Photo: Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty

After winning the Big Ten Tournament championship this weekend, University of Illinois player Ayo Dosunmu paid tribute to NBA star Kobe Bryant by recreating an iconic photo of the late athlete.

On Sunday night, the Fighting Illini beat Ohio State 91-88 in overtime to win the Big Ten Tournament and will now move on to face Drexel in the first round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament later this week.

Dosunmu — a 21-year-old native of Chicago — is Illinois' star player, and is widely credited with rejuvenating the school's men's basketball program.

"It was crazy, thinking about all the things we've accomplished and knowing how I came on my visit with coach [Brad] Underwood and I told him these are the things we can accomplish," Dosunmu said after being named the tournament's most outstanding player, according to ESPN. "So to get up there, cut that net down and see that No. 1 seed come up there, it's just an unreal feeling."

After the game, Dosunmu sat in a corner with the team's championship trophy and posed for a picture he uploaded to Instagram. He included a second picture showing Bryant in a similar pose after winning the 2001 NBA championship with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Ayo Donsunmu, Kobe Bryant
Ayo Dosunmu/Instagram; Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty

In his caption, Dosunmu wrote "job's not finished," a quote Bryant famously said in response to a reporter who asked why he wasn't happy with the 2-0 lead the Lakers had heading into Game 3 of the 2009 NBA Finals.

The quote from Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January 2020, would become a rallying cry for the Lakers last year when the team — led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis — reached the 2020 NBA Finals.

They eventually beat the Eastern Conference Champions, the Miami Heat, to claim the franchise's 17th NBA title. It was their first championship since Bryant last won in 2010.

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The first round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament will start on Friday, March 19, with the championship game scheduled for Sunday, April 3.

For this year's tournament, the NCAA will be hosting every game in Indiana, with the majority of the tournament's matchups taking place in Indianapolis. There will also be "limited" fan attendance at games, the NCAA announced last month.

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