Novak Djokovic celebrates his 24th US Open title win with Kobe Bryant tribute | NBA News


Novak Djokovic can’t think of No. 24 without thinking of Kobe Bryant.

So, after winning the US Open on Sunday night, the 36-year-old wore a blue jersey in honor of the Los Angeles Lakers legend.

The shirt features the phrase “Mamba Forever” on the front, as well as images of Bryant and Djokovic. On his purple back was the number 24 — one of two numbers Bryant wore during his Hall of Fame career.

Djokovic said he came up with the idea about a week ago as a way to honor his friend. He said he received advice about his career from Bryant, who died in 2020 in a helicopter crash that also killed his daughter Gianna and seven others.

“Kobe was a close friend, and we talked a lot about the winner’s mentality when I was going through injury and trying to come back and get back to the top of the game,” Djokovic said. “He was one of the people I relied on the most.

“He was always there for any kind of advice, advice or any kind of support in the most friendly way,” he added.

He added: “Of course what happened a few years ago with the death of his daughter hit me hard, and No. 24 is the jersey he wore when he became a Lakers and world basketball legend, so I thought it could be a nice symbolic thing.” To acknowledge him for all the things he’s done.”

Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, congratulated Djokovic in a post on Instagram, saying: “Real recognizes Real” with the hashtag “MambaMentality.”


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