Kobe Bryant would have turned 43 years old today (Aug. 23) and fans, friends and former teammates are joining together online to wish the late NBA star a happy birthday.
“Happy birthday Kobe!!! We miss you like crazy bro,” ESPN commentator and former center Kendrick Perkins tweeted on Monday. “Rest in Paradise.”
“Happy birthday to one of my heroes,” O’Shea Jackson Jr., Ice Cube’s son, tweeted. “The man the myth the legend. The always imitated. Never duplicated. Under appreciated and surprisingly STILL underrated. Smh. Lol. Our fallen King Laker. We love you. We miss you. But we still feel you here with us. Mr. Kobe Bean Bryant.”
In his Instagram Story, Shaquille O’Neal also shared several posts honoring Kobe, one of which read, “Kobe would’ve been 43 years old today. Happy birthday.” On Twitter, tennis star and Kobe fan Naomi Osaka shared an iconic image of the pro-baller celebrating after beating the Boston Celtics in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals.
Ahead of Kobe’s birthday, Carmelo Anthony recalled their epic “war” during the 2009 Western Conference Finals between the Denver Nuggets and the Los Angeles Lakers. Carmelo revealed that he and Kobe, whom he referred to as “the greatest,” became close before winning gold medals together at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.
“That was my moment where me and Kob became – before that we went to the Olympics. We became very close. But we became close on some disrespectful shit,” Carmelo told Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on the “All The Smoke” podcast. “You know Kob. He going into your neck. He elbowing you. I had my braids back then, too. So he touching my head. I’m like, ‘Don’t touch my head. Don’t touch me no more, dawg.’ He’s smirking.”
“I remember we hugged before the game and he was like, ‘It’s war,’” Carmelo continued. “I said, ‘It’s war. Let’s get it. It ain’t gonna be nothing easy.’”
Tragically, Kobe and his daughter Gianna Bryant passed away last January in a devastating helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. This past June, Kobe’s wife Vanessa and the families of the other victims reached a settlement in their wrongful death lawsuit stemming from the horrific crash.
Rest in Peace Kobe Bryant. See touching birthday tributes to the late star on social media below.