Justin Bieber donned the Lakers vintage blue jersey in the pic, sporting Kobe Bryant’s original number 8, as he shared how the late basketball star inspired him.
Justin Bieber, 25, continues to pay tribute to the late Kobe Bryant who lost his life at just 41 years of age in a tragic helicopter crash on Sunday, Jan. 26. “I am committed working the hardest, never settling for less than greatness! YOU TAUGHT US THAT @kobebryant,” Justin captioned a post shared to Instagram on Sunday, Feb. 2. The “Yummy” singer rocks a vintage blue Lakers jersey in the pic, with Kobe Bryant’s name and original number 8 on the back. The throwback jersey represents the Lakers original colors from their days in Minneapolis, and in Los Angeles from 1960 – 1967, and was re-made as part of the 2003 Hardwood Classics collection. Justin didn’t tag a location, but appeared to be in a large van or small bus in the image, with his back turned to the camera.
The post comes days after a slew of social media tributes posted by Justin, including a pic the pair when Justin was 13 years old. “It can’t be. You always encouraged me mamba. Gave me me some of the best quotes that we smile about to this day.! Love you man!” Justin captioned the adorable throwback pic. Kobe, in a cool leather jacket and shades, sweetly places his arm around the young singer, who’s absolutely beaming to meet his idol. The Canadian pop star also updated his Instagram profile pic to be a yellow and gold heart of Kobe’s #24, and re-posted the same image three times a row on his Instagram Jan. 31.
Justin also purchased a beautiful pop art piece paying tribute to the basketball legend from L.A.’s Idiot Box Art owners Emily Bright and Tamara Martin, TMZ reports. The image features an image inspired by Takashi Murakami iconic bear — made famous as the as the mascot for Kanye West‘s album College Dropout — rocking Kobe’s #8 jersey, a Mamba Sports Academy hoodie, and a pair of yellow-and-gold Nike shoes. Justin reportedly paid $1,200 for the piece, which is only one of five, and made of hand-cut wood and acrylic wood. Proceeds from Idiot Box Art’s Kobe-inspired pieces are going to the MambaOnThree Fund.
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Tributes for Kobe have been pouring in since he and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant were killed en route to a girls’ basketball game. The Los Angeles Lakers honored their former star with a touching video featuring Kobe’s career highlights, along with moving performances Usher, Wiz Khalifa and Boyz II Men. The father-daughter duos jerseys were also draped over the chairs they sat in at the last game they attended on Dec. 26, along with bouquets of red roses.