Getty Images

Kobe Bryant, a basketball legend and very well-known Lakers icon, tragically passed away in 2020 in a helicopter crash. His untimely death sent shockwaves throughout the basketball community. However, his impact on the game and his fans continue to be felt to this day. Bryant had a profound impact on the basketball world. Many players, including Kyrie Irving, have publicly acknowledged his influence on their lives and careers.

Kyrie Irving had a deep relationship with Kobe Bryant. He considered the Lakers icon as his mentor who helped him shape his career. After winning the NBA title with Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016, Irving even face-timed Bryant to share his achievements. However, Irving’s latest comments on Kobe have sparked speculation. Some suggest that his heartfelt remarks were an attempt to win over Lakers fans amid ongoing trade rumors linked to the franchise.


Amid Trade Rumors, Kyrie Irving Shows Gratitude Towards Late Kobe Bryant For Mentoring His NBA Career

Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images

Kyrie Irving had a great professional and personal relationship with late Lakers icon Kobe Bryant. After announcing retirement in 2016, Bryant referred to Irving as the player he was closest to. However, Kobe’s tragic passing in 2020 shook the NBA fraternity, including Irving. Recently sharing his thoughts on the former Lakers icon, the Mavericks guard called Kobe a man who was highly inspirational, loving, and compassionate. Irving further added that Bryant always welcomed players who intended to follow in his footsteps in NBA. He never shied away from passing on his extensive knowledge about the game.

For Irving personally, Kobe Bryant was a lifelong mentor. The guard is more than grateful to have Kobe guide him throughout his career. He further appreciated the Bryant family for keeping Kobe’s legacy intact and applauded their efforts. Irving concluded by saying, “I love you (Kobe Bryant) more than life itself and miss you a lot.” Irving’s tribute to Bryant, while undoubtedly heartfelt and genuine, has raised eyebrows. Majorly due to the timing and the context of his rumored interest in joining the Lakers. Recently, Irving was linked to the franchise as LeBron James is apparently vouching for him. However, the team’s front office and fans are skeptical, citing Irving’s troubling history. Hence, by publicly expressing his admiration for Kobe Bryant, Irving may be trying to generate goodwill among Lakers fans and create a positive image that could potentially facilitate a future move.

Lakers Urged To Choose Austin Reaves Over Kyrie Irving

Austin Reaves
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

With the off-season approaching, the LA Lakers have to make some tough decisions. They have two options to resolve the guard position, Austin Reaves and Kyrie Irving. While Reaves played a big role in uplifting the team to the conference finals this season, Irving has an edge due to his extensive experience. However, podcaster, Bill Simmons, is against the idea of choosing Irving over Reaves.

He urged the Lakers to prioritize Austin Reaves’ deal. He is young, dynamic, and perhaps the future of the franchise. On the other hand, Kyrie Irving’s recent history has been nothing less than troubling. Along with health concerns, Irving’s unprofessionalism is also an added baggage. Hence, Bill feels it’s wise for the Lakers to go for Reaves and pay him a few million more if needed because his potential can bring glory to the franchise in the future.