Kobe Bryant tributes have become a fixture in the NBA since the Laker legend's death in a January helicopter accident. Trae Young wore his jersey number to honor him on the day that he died. The NBA renamed its All-Star Game MVP trophy after him. Virtually every team in the league committed either a 24-second violation or an eight-second violation to open their first game after the accident. Those were the two numbers Bryant wore during his career.
But ironically, the greatest tribute so far may be coming from the Lakers' greatest rival. Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum is getting a French Bulldog puppy in four weeks. According to Nicole Yang of The Boston Globe, he plans to name it Bean, which was Bryant's middle name.
Jayson Tatum is getting a new puppy: a blue fawn French bulldog named Bean, after the late Kobe Bryant. The breeder, Humble Breed Bullies in Philly, says Bean is 4 weeks old and will be driven to Boston once he is 8 weeks. @LilWeezyDog might have a new friend. pic.twitter.com/Xt8Zhdh9D0— Nicole Yang (@nicolecyang) June 25, 2020
Bryant retired in 2016, and Tatum didn't play in the NBA until 2017, so the two never crossed paths in the league. They did, however, develop a strong bond off of the court. Tatum, one of the best young isolation scorers in basketball, worked out with Bryant during his offseasons. As an added honorary layer, Tatum is purchasing the dog from a breeder in Philadelphia, which was Bryant's home town. Tatum already had two dogs, boxers named Creed and Deuces.
Bryant's Lakers battled the Celtics in the NBA Finals twice, losing in 2008 before taking home the 2010 championship. While Boston fans typically wouldn't be thrilled with one of their own going to such great lengths for a Laker, they're sure to make an exception in this case for the player who taught and inspired the face of their franchise.