Novak Djokovic Honors Kobe Bryant in Heartfelt Speech After US Open Win

After winning the Men’s US Open title, Novak Djokovic detailed the shirt he wore to honor the late Kobe Bryant: "He was one of the people I relied on the most."

By Kisha Forde Sep 11, 2023 3:58 PMTags
Watch: Novak Djokovic Honors Kobe Bryant After US Open Win

Novak Djokovic is keeping the Mamba mentality close to his chest.

Moments after the tennis champ defeated Daniil Medvedev and won the Men's US Open title Sept. 10, the athlete unveiled a T-shirt featuring a photo of himself alongside NBA star Kobe Bryant. Written across the chest was, "Mamba Forever."

"I thought of doing this t-shirt eventually, if I get the chance to win the tournament, about seven days ago," he said after his win. "I didn't share it with anyone until a few days ago when I asked my people to help me out to make this shirt. Kobe was a close friend, we chatted a lot about the winner's mentality."

Novak, who also wore a zip-up with a 24 patch stitched on, detailed how the Lakers star had guided him throughout this career.

"When I was struggling with an injury and trying to make my comeback, work my way back to the top of the game, he was one of the people I relied on the most," the 24-time Grand Slam winner shared. He was always there for any kind of council, advice, any kind of support in the most friendly way."

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In January 2020, Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna "Gigi" Bryant died in a tragic helicopter crash that also killed seven others.

"What happened a few years ago with him and his daughter passing hurt me deeply," the 36-year-old told the crowd at Arthur Ashe stadium. "I thought, 24 is the jersey that he wore when he became a legend of the Lakers and of world basketball. I thought it could be a nice, symbolic thing to acknowledge him for all the things he's done."

Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images

While Kobe may have been looking down, many celebs were front and center for the game. Keep reading for a look at all the stars that were seated at the US Open.

Ciara & Russell Wilson

The two cheer on their friend Serena Williams in her third-round match against Ajla Tomljanovic. Serena lost the game, believed to be the final pro tennis match of her career.

Ben Simmons

The NBA star arrives at the U.S. Open to watch Serena Williams play what ended up being her likely final match.

Retta & Kal Penn

Hollywood's biggest stars have some fun in the Heineken suite at the US Open Tennis Championships.

Valentina Ferrer

The fashion model wears Polo Ralph Lauren to the U.S. Open while visiting the Ralph Lauren suite on Labor Day. 

Gayle King

The TV personality cheers on Serena Williams.

Ciara & Russell Wilson

The two watch their friend Serena Williams in her match against Ajla Tomljanovic.

Bella Hadid

The model gets emotional watching Serena Williams face off against Ajla Tomljanovic in a third-round match.

Ashley Graham

The model takes a pic of Serena Williams facing off against Ajla Tomljanovic in a third-round match.

Spike Lee & P.K. Subban

The director and hockey player watch Serena Williams face off against Ajla Tomljanovic in a third-round match.

Gigi Hadid
Eli Brown
Ben Stiller, Christine Taylor
Offset, Bella Hadid, Marc Kalman
Anna Wintour
Ashley Graham
Rebel Wilson, Ramona Agruma
Bill Clinton
Lindsey Vonn
Hugh Jackman, Anthony Anderson
Gayle King
Queen Latifah
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