Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid wants to pay tribute to the man who helped Embiid fall in love with basketball. When the 76ers take on the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, Embiid will be wearing shoes honoring Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
The shoes feature Lakers colors, and contain a picture of both Kobe and Gianna Bryant.
Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Joel Embiid’s new shoes tonight against the Los Angeles Lakers paying tribute to the late Kobe and Gianna Bryant. Embiid fell in love with basketball watching Bryant as kid in Cameroon. pic.twitter.com/xPcYGcvVfP
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 27, 2021
Embiid won’t be the only star to wear Bryant shoes. Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry also paid tribute to Kobe and Gianna Bryant on Wednesday. Curry also honored his kids.
— Golden State Warriors (@warriors) January 28, 2021
Damion Lee and Kent Bazemore also paid tribute to the Bryant family.
The 76ers also sent out a video tribute to Bryant, who was born in Philadelphia.
Kobe is honored in his hometown of Philadelphia ahead of Lakers-76ers 💜 pic.twitter.com/pGveYxvtsC
— ESPN (@espn) January 28, 2021
The 76ers’ PA announcer made the following statement as players took a knee for a moment of silence:
“Bryant was one of the most decorated players in NBA history and a global ambassador for the game. His journey to icon status in the world of basketball included deep ties to the Philadelphia region, where he starred at Lower Merion High School from 1992 to 1996.
“As he honed his craft here in Philadelphia, Bryant established a reputation as a player, once in a lifetime poise, grit, heart and unwavering love for the game.”
Joel Embiid started playing basketball thanks to Kobe Bryant
When Bryant died in 2020, Embiid revealed he started playing basketball after watching Bryant in the 2010 NBA Finals.
Man I don’t even know where to start😭😭 I started playing ball because of KOBE after watching the 2010 finals. I had never watched ball before that and that finals was the turning point of my life. I WANTED TO BE LIKE KOBE. I’m so FREAKING SAD right now!!!!
— Joel “Troel” Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) January 26, 2020
A few days later, Embiid was cleared by the NBA to wear No. 24 in honor of Bryant. Embiid went back to his normal number — 21 — following the contest.
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