Novak Djokovic won his 24th Grand Slam at the 2023 US Open and although all the spotlights deservedly revolved around him, the Serbian had time to pay an emotional and beautiful tribute to his friend Kobe Bryant, who died in 2020 and who wore his dorsal the same number as Djokovic now has majors under his belt. With a t-shirt and some nice words, Nole explained what what is known as Mamba Mentality means to him, in honor of the world basketball legend.
Already champion of the US Open and with emotions running high, Djokovic took off his playing shirt and took out a commemorative shirt from his bag, which instead of showing off a tribute to himself, as it did appear on his jacket and that of His team had a design in which both he and a good friend, the late Kobe Bryant, were present, who in addition to friendship was united with Novak by a different mentality and which elevated both to the highest level in their sports.
Novak hits 24 and pays tribute to the late Kobe Bryant 💙 pic.twitter.com/rDXVUvYe1Z
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) September 10, 2023
Djokovic, as if it were a ritual, put on the shirt and kissed its central area, where Kobe Bryant’s face appears along with the motto ‘Mamba Mentality’ that accompanied the ‘8’ and ’24’ of the Los Angeles Lakers during his career and which remains his legacy in the sport after his death in January 2020 after an unfortunate helicopter accident.
Already in the trophy presentation interview, Djokovic was asked about his shirt and dedicated some beautiful and exciting words to what Kobe Bryant means and everything he has learned from his mentality to succeed in tennis. «I felt like I had to do this. Kobe was a close person, we always talked about having a great mentality, he was a friend to me. His death hurt me a lot. “24 is the number with which he made history and it was a great way for me to celebrate the Grand Slam 24,” said Novak, on a special day for him that he wanted to share with a good friend.
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