Kyrie Irving, like the rest of the basketball world, was devastated by the untimely death of Kobe Bryant on January 20, 2020.
“It’s an open wound,” the Brooklyn Nets star said a few days later, via Yahoo. “I’m not the only one that’s hurting. I don’t wanna make this about me and our relationship because we all shared something really, really strong with him. There’s a bond whether watching him or studying him. We all shared something.”
On Wednesday, nearly 13 months after the helicopter crash that killed Bryant at 41 along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, Irving revealed a way for the NBA to honor the Lakers icon.
IRving Wants Kobe as the NBA Icon
Irving posted a photo on his Instagram account of Bryant in front of the NBA logo, obscuring the white silhouette normally featured on it.
This is what the NBA logo should look like, according to Irving.
“Gotta happen, idc what anyone says,” Irving captioned his photo. “BLACK KINGS BUILT THE LEAGUE.”
Currently, Jerry West, a Hall of Famer and Lakers legend who is white, serves as the inspiration for the NBA logo’s silhouette.
To Irving’s point, the NBA is composed mostly of Black players. According to statista.com, 74.2 percent of NBA players were African American in 2020.
Follow the Heavy on Nets Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content out of Brooklyn!
Irving Following in Kobe’s Footsteps
Irving, 28, is using his voice in the midst of arguably his best season in the NBA. He’s averaging 27.4 points (on 51.7% shooting from the field, 40.6% shooting from 3-point range, and 90.4% from the foul line) to go along with 4.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists. He was named a starter for the 2021 NBA All-Star Game, which is set for March 7 in Atlanta.
Irving, the No. 1 overall pick in 2011 out of Duke, continues to credit the late Bryant for inspiring him to reach his own greatness.
“In some ancient texts it says when the student is ready, the teacher will appear,” Irving said shortly after Bryant’s death, via Yahoo. “I had that type of mentorship relationship with him. I could ask him anything, no matter how nervous or how fearful I was. He was easy to approach with those type of questions with what goes on in a day-in and day-out basis on chasing something that’s bigger than yourself.
“When you’re trying to leave a legacy or a mark on the game, there will come a lot of sacrifices and a lot of hate, a lot of love and a lot of balance you must create in your life … He left a lot of teachings, a lot of bread crumbs, as I call them. And I just followed every single one of them. That probably pays a lot of focus into the person I am today. Just listening, seeing what he was creating. Seeing his daughter, Gigi, and opening doors in women’s sports. We talked about it all the time. I wanted that same structure.”