LeBron James, Dwyane Wade & More Stars Pay Tribute to Kobe Bryant on His 42nd Birthday
Sunday marks what would've been Kobe Bryant's 42nd birthday
A number of athletes, including Kobe's former teammate Derek Fisher and WNBA legend Lisa Leslie, joined forces for an emotional video, in which they reflected on Kobe's legacy as a player, mentor and father.
In an emotional message, the retired player opened up about the massive impact Kobe had on the game.
"We all have our Kobe moments and we all have our Kobe stories. No mistake about it we were trying to make him proud," he said in the Players' Tribune video.
"We knew coming into the game that he was the one. I grew up with [Michael] Jordan, Jordan is my favorite player of all time, but when I got in the game, Kobe was that bar for all of us," he added. "We knew he was the one and we were trying to make him proud of us and we never probably spoke it, said to the media or said it to him, but deep inside, most guys were.”
“Today is Kobe Bryant’s 30th birthday, and we’re gonna sing happy birthday,” James says in the throwback clip, as he got the entire room to join in with the celebratory song.
“Happy Bday my brother!! Miss you man!!” James wrote alongside the video.
"I had the pleasure of calling Kobe Bryant my friend for 20 years. Nobody, and I mean nobody, worked harder and more passionately to be great, day in and day out. As a player, as a coach, as a mentor, as a husband and as a father," he added. "On what would be his 42nd birthday, I ask that everyone please say a prayer for Vanessa and his family. Love you, Kobe. 💜💛"
WNBA player Ionescu paid tribute to her mentor by sharing a tribute video highlighting all of the ways the player helped inspire others to "be better."
"Writing this with tears in my eyes, I miss you more and more everyday. Thank you for teaching me to be better. Every. Single. Day. Happy Birthday Boss!!" she added in a separate post. "Love you and Gigi forever."
"Happy birthday Mamba," wrote the tennis star, who shared that her thoughts have been with Kobe as she prepares to compete in the U.S. Open.
"At the US Open right now and I practiced on Armstrong so I had a lot of memories of you in my box," she wrote, sharing photographs and videos of Bryant watching her play last year. "That was fun, wish we could’ve done it again. Miss you."
The actress shared a photo of Bryant from the night he won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 2018.
"Remembering you and honoring you on this day. We will love you forever Kobe. You will always be alive to us. Sending blessings and prayers to Vanessa and the girls today," Davis wrote.
For his own tribute, the Cleveland Cavaliers player shared a photo of Kobe from 2001, when the Lakers won the NBA Championships against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Kobe's former Lakers teammate Pau Gasol struck an emotional cord as he reflected on how much he missed his friend.
"With tears in my eyes today... I just wish so badly that you were here celebrating your bday with your girls and family," he wrote. "I miss you and Gigi so much brother. I will always be thankful for how much you have impacted my life in so many different ways."
"Happy Birthday Kobe!! Miss You! 💙💙" wrote Rob Kardashian.
The singer shared throwback photos from Bryant's career and saluted the Lakers icon.