Kyrie Irving wearing Kobe Bryant jersey one day before anniversary of his death

Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers

Kyrie Irving paid tribute to the late Kobe Bryant approaching the one-year anniversary of his death.

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost been a full year since Kobe Bryant’s tragic death. From the coronavirus pandemic to a racial reckoning in the United States to a turbulent presidential election, 2020 was a year that felt like an entire decade.

And yet, with the calendar flipping to 2021, it has indeed been almost an entire year since the departure of the beloved Los Angeles Lakers legend who was revered throughout the NBA community. It’s not surprising to see players and coaches honor him in their own way as we approach the one-year anniversary of his death on Tuesday.

Before the Brooklyn Nets‘ game against the Miami Heat on Monday night, star point guard Kyrie Irving chose to wear an old-school No. 8 Lakers jersey to pay tribute to the Black Mamba, saying, “You know who I was rocking tonight.”

Kyrie Irving arrived at the arena in a throwback Kobe Bryant jersey

Like everyone in this country, it’s been a turbulent year for Kyrie Irving, who’s dealt with injuries, being unfairly labeled as a “disruptor” for simply voicing very real concerns about the NBA’s return-to-play plan, and becoming something of a public pariah for shirking media availabilities and missing several Nets games due to personal reasons.

However, it’s good to see Irving in a clearer state of mind again and also back on the court alongside Kevin Durant and the newly acquired James Harden. Bryant’s death hit the league and its players hard last year, and while the one-year anniversary of his untimely passing will be a difficult day, it’s evident guys like Irving are finding their own little ways to honor his life and his legacy.

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