Trae Young honored the late Kobe Bryant by wearing his vintage No. 8 jersey on the night of his passing during the Wizards-Hawks game. Young surprised the Atlanta crowd after warmups by taking off his jacket to show Bryant’s No. 8 jersey instead of his typical No. 11.
Young noted on Twitter that Bryant’s daughter, Gigi, had seen him play two times this season and called him her “favorite player.”
“…This S*** can’t be real… this the first moment I was able to meet Gianna Maria, she’s been to only 3 games this year… 2 of them were mine… She told me I was her favorite player to watch?? I can’t believe this?? Rest Easy Gigi❤️,” Young tweeted.
Young Tweeted That Bryant’s Daughter Called Him Her Favorite Player
Earlier in the day, Young noted that Bryant’s death is an example that “life isn’t promised to anybody.” Young later tweeted once he learned Gigi was in the helicopter as well.
“This is the Biggest example that life isn’t promised to anybody…sad day? Prayers Up??????…The Daughters Too?!? This can’t be real…,” Young noted in a series of tweets.
Fox Atlanta’s Justin Felder posted an emotional video of Young hugging his mother after learning of Bryant’s passing.
“Man, this is absolutely heartbreaking: Trae Young, who was close with Kobe Bryant and Kobe’s daughter Gianna, came off the floor pregame and shared a long hug with his mom,” Felder tweeted.
Here is a look at Young embracing his mother prior to the Hawks game.
Young Planned to Train With Bryant This Past Summer
The Athletic reported last August that Young planned to train with Bryant over the summer. Bryant had his own training facility called Mamba Academy where some of the top athletes came to get better at their craft.
The plan is for Young, after he’s finished with his Team USA training camp obligations at the start of August, to travel to Newport Beach, Calif., before he has to report back to Atlanta on Aug. 19 and work on his midrange game with Kobe Bryant. Last summer, Bryant worked with Boston’s Jayson Tatum before the start of his sophomore season. Twenty-two percent of Tatum’s shot attempts this past season were considered long 2-point shots, ranking him in the 95th percentile.
Bryant Broke Down Young’s Game for an Episode of Detail
One of the great gifts Bryant fans have from the legend is the “Detail” series he did with ESPN+. During the series, Bryant broke down film of different players’ games including Young. Upon hearing the news, Young took to Twitter to express his appreciation for Bryant’s wisdom.
“I’m Listening???? Thank You !! @kobebryant,” Young tweeted.
During the episode, Bryant emphasized how Young needed to transition his game from the college to pro level.
“As Trae Young progresses from the college to the pros, it becomes more important to understand the strategy of the game before the game takes place, and that can only be done with film work, constant study and attention to detail,” Bryant noted, per USA Today.