Everyone mourns a death in their own way, but Kyrie Irving tried to mourn Kobe Bryant’s death as only he would.
Irving formed a strong bond with Bryant while playing together on Team USA and training together in the offseason. Irving looked up to the older Bryant and, like most of the basketball world, was greatly impacted by his untimely death in 2020.
However, instead of practicing the normal stages of grief, Irving practiced, well, basketball. And he attempted to practice basketball in Bryant’s own gym, according to Matt Sullivan, the author of the new book Can’t Knock The Hustle: Inside the Season of Protest, Pandemic, and Progress with the Brooklyn Nets’ Superstars of Tomorrow.
Sullivan joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher and Rich on Friday to discuss his book, which details Irving’s departure from the Celtics. He also tells the story of how Irving went to Bryant’s house and asked to play on his court – mere months after he died, while the family was still planning his memorial services.
“The summer where COVID was kind of putting him inside of himself, he came back to Kobe’s gym, almost as a spiritual renaissance,” Sullivan said. “He tried to get in [Bryant’s gym] for one final run with the ghost of Kobe. The people who were in the gym, and [Bryant’s] family, were kind of busy with his funeral and not what Kyrie wanted, which is sad, but it shows the ego on display.”
So, as the Bryant family was grieving the loss of Kobe and their daughter Gigi, Irving was knocking on the door to shoot some hoops.
Listen above for the full interview and learn about what led to Irving’s departure from Boston.
Note: This story previously stated that Irving went to Kobe Bryant’s gym “days” after he died. The alleged events actually took place in the “summer” of 2020. We have updated the story to reflect more accurate information. We apologize for the error.