Justin Timberlake is paying tribute to Kobe Bryant after the basketball legend died in a California helicopter crash on Sunday. In a heartfelt post shared on Instagram, Timberlake reflected on the impact Bryant and his “mentality” have had on his own life and his career.
Timberlake shared several photographs of the two of them over the years at different events, including during a Lakers game.
“We met when we were both teenagers and bonded over our drive and process. I was in awe of what you could do with a basketball and knew your talent went beyond your physical gifts and stretched to your mentality. A mentality that I would take with me throughout my whole career and still use every day,” the message began with.
It continued, “As the years went by, I watched you do things that seemed humanly unimaginable. And, through ups and downs, championships and injuries, you still remained with an unwavering resolve about your mentality to remain fierce to competition. But, every time we would speak, something started to change… your patience and ease grew. And it inspired me to continue to grow for myself. Years passed, and the “old man” jokes would start to be traded back and forth. We both appreciated a good “ribbing.” We joked about “The Vino Club.” You nicknamed yourself ‘Vino’ to represent how one could age gracefully as a fine wine does.”
Later in the post, Timberlake went on to send his “love to Vanessa and your family and to the families of everyone connected in the mourning of this terrible tragedy,” adding that his “heart is broken and my family lifts you up in our thoughts and prayers.”
See JT’s heartfelt tribute to Kobe (below). RIP