Though San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman undoubtedly has a lot on his mind — with Super Bowl LIV getting ready to kick off — he made a point of honoring the late Kobe Bryant while making his way to the Big Game. The Los Angeles Lakers star recently died in a helicopter crash a week ago, which also tragically claimed the lives of eight other people, including his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
Just hours before kickoff, the former Stanford player honored the basketball champion by wearing Bryant’s No. 8 jersey from the 2004 NBA All-Star Game while walking from the team bus to the locker room at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium as reported by CBS affiliate WFMY 2 News.
The number on the jersey was one of the two that Bryant wore during his career with the Lakers. He also wore No. 24 during his career.
Sherman, a Compton, Los Angeles, native, had talked in the past about the impact that Bryant had on his career. He specifically pointed to when Bryant dealt with a torn Achilles tendon, something that Sherman suffered from as well.
“I saw him make two free throws and walk off with a torn Achilles,” said Sherman, who suffered from the identical injury in 2017.
“And once I tore mine, I knew I had to walk off. Like he said before, we’re different animals but the same beast,” he concluded.
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) February 2, 2020
In addition to today’s jersey tribute, Sherman also posted a sweet tribute on Instagram shortly after the crash in which he called Bryant inspiring and a “genuine” person.
“I don’t have the words to describe what this man has meant to me. It pains me to the soul to hear he is gone so soon. Don’t get the chance to express how much his words inspired me and his actions gave me a blueprint to be great. A genuine human being this one hurts,” Sherman wrote.
The pictures in the post were from when the two played softball at Richard Sherman’s annual celebrity game at Safeco Field. The first photo showed the two pro-athletes bumping shoulders. In the second, Sherman and Bryant shared a friendly smile.
However, Bryant is not the only figure that is inspiring Sherman this Super Bowl. As was previously reported by The Inquisitr, the former Seahawks player confessed how his two children have motivated him to become a better player. In addition, his son — who turns 5 in three days — has wished a Super Bowl ring for his birthday.
It is also expected that there will a tribute to Bryant during the Super Bowl’s half-time show.