After winning the 2020 U.S. Open Women’s Singles final on Sept. 12, Naomi Osaka says that she felt the support of late NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
The 22-year-old tennis champion shared a photo of herself in Bryant’s Black Mamba Lakers jersey on Instagram as she proudly held her winning trophy.
"I wore this jersey every day after my matches. I truly think it gave me strength," she wrote.
After her victorious win snagging the US Open trophy for the second time, Osaka told reporters that her mentor in the sports world truly believed in her craft.
"I just want to be the type of person that he thought I was going to be. He thought I was going to be great, so hopefully, I will be great in the future."
During each match for the US Open, Osaka honored seven lives that were lost due to racism and police brutality. The tennis champ wore masks that shed light on Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Elijah McClain, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, Philando Castile, and George Floyd.
(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)