2020 was a long year for everyone, and one of the first tragedies suffered was the loss of Kobe Bryant.
The Los Angeles Laker legend and his daughter passed away on January 26 after the helicopter they were in crashed in the hills of California. The days that followed were full of shock for everyone, namely his family and the many NBA players who looked up to him. As an elder statesmen, that’s since retired, players watched his every move, and a few special ones got personal lessons from the Black mamba, like Kyrie Irving.
But the first player recognizing the one year anniversary of his death is JR Smith. Smith never got a chance to play alongside him but was on the other side of the ball of the legend many times. So he took to Instagram to reminisce with a picture of him guarding Bryant while he was a Denver Nugget, where he played from 2006-2011. The 35-year-old even left a touching message under the photo where they’re both rocking Nike Kobe sneakers.
“Took these days for granted. Thought I was really going to play against you forever. Appreciate the competitive nature you brought out in me, shit can’t lie I ain’t know I had some of this shit till you had out them ass whoopings an I had to figure it out,” he said in the caption. “The game misses your avatar but we all know your soul is all around it. Miss you.”
Since the tragedy, many others who had a personal connection to Bryant are sure to praise the basketball legend, with tomorrow marking one year since the tragedy.