Celtics

Celtics

Kobe Bryant touched the lives of an incredible number of people both during and after his legendary NBA career.

Among those people was Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum.

Tatum grew up idolizing Bryant, who later would become his mentor and friend. The 21-year-old worked out with Bryant during the summer of 2018 and maintained a close relationship with the Los Angeles Lakers icon.

Watch highlights from Kobe's final game at TD Garden

Upon hearing the tragic news of Bryant's death, Tatum took to Instagram to share an emotional tribute to his idol:

Heart broken. My Hero. My Idol. The reason I started to play this game, the reason I fell in love with this game. Growing up wanting to be just like you, to you becoming a mentor, beyond thankful for everything you’ve done for me. “I didn’t have a plan B I put all my eggs in one basket and I knew I was going to make it happen” hearing you say that stuck with me everyday of my life. You inspired me and I am forever grateful more than you know! Love you Bean 🙏🏽❤️! Sad, sad, sad day RIP Kobe and Gianna! Praying for the family!

Other Celtics players and athletes around the world shared similar sentiments on social media.

Bryant was 41 years old.

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