Updated: April 13, 2020 10:17:19 pm
Nick Kyrgios, the Australian tennis player known for his antics both on and off the court, won hearts on Monday when he revealed a tattoo which paid tribute to his idol, the late Kobe Bryant.
Taking to Instagram, the 24-year-old revealed his new ink on his sleeve dedicated to the NBA legend, who passed away tragically in a helicopter crash in late January along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.
At the time of the death of the LA Lakers star, Kyrgios was competing in the Australian Open. While walking onto the court before his fourth-round tie against Rafael Nadal, the world number 40 broke down in tears wearing Bryant’s iconic jersey.
Transferring his grief to real-life, Kyrgios had the ink completed with tattoo artist Dave Chavez before entering into self-isolation in Canberra. The colourless artwork features life-like caricatures of Bryant and Lakers superstar LeBron James — as well as tributes to Michael Jordan.
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“Kobe and the king with me forever & some Jordan 1’s,” captioned Kyrgios on Instagram.
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“When I saw the image, I realised it was that. I wanted to tattoo something from Kobe after everything that happened,” he said in one of the Instagram videos.
“I wore his shirt the day he died at the Australian Open and cried during that day. I watch basketball every day and it is an important part of my life. I can never imitate what Kobe did, but there may be times in my life when I try. ”
The tribute enforced the Australian’s emotions in January where he had said that the spirit of competition Bryant inspired across an entire generation of athletes will always stay with him.
“I don’t think they make them like him any more. He was different, the way he trained, the way he did things, the way he played. He was special,” Kyrgios said after his fighting loss to Nadal in January.
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Meanwhile, Kyrgios followed through on a promise to help people going hungry in the coronavirus shutdown, with social media confirming that he has prepared boxes of essential items for delivery.
“Please don’t go to sleep with an empty stomach,” Kyrgios said on Instagram. “Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to send me a private message. I will be more than happy to share whatever I have.”
Earlier, Kyrgios had also led a bushfire relief campaign that raised millions of dollars, as he pledged to give Aus$200 (US$125) for every ace he hit in the Australian Open.
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