Celtics

Celtics

In the wake of the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other passengers in Calabassas, Calif. on Sunday, players across the NBA have decided to pay tribute to the Los Angeles Lakers legend.

Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum, who was close with Bryant, paid tribute to him by sporting a pair of Bryant's signature sneaker with the words "Bean + Gigi" written on them.

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Tatum noted that Bryant was his "hero," and is the reason he begun playing basketball in the first place. He even trained with Bryant in 2018.

Bryant's impact on Tatum is very noticeable. Through 42 games this season, Tatum is averaging 21.5 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game while shooting 43.5 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from beyond the arc.

 

As a result of his strong performance, Tatum was named an NBA All-Star for the first time on Thursday night.

The C's star will return to action Thursday night when Boston hosts the Golden State Warriors at TD Garden. He had missed the previous three games while nursing a groin injury.

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Don't miss NBC Sports Boston's coverage of Warriors-Celtics, which begins Thursday at 7 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live, followed by tip-off at 8 p.m. You can also stream the game on the MyTeams App.