Today is one of the saddest days in the history of sports, as all-time great Kobe Bryant passed away in a helicopter accident earlier this morning. Many celebrities and athletes payed tribute to Kobe through all social media platforms, one of them being Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young. There is a video on the internet showing him hugging his mother in tears after he found out the news of Kobe’s passing. Bryant was a mentor to Trae, as they put in months of work together to perfect Trae’s game. Kobe was also a mentor to Trae off the court, passing on his mamba mentality and tips about how to handle life in the league.
Trae Young started the game against the Washington Wizards by switching his number from 11 to 8, to honor The Mamba. The Hawks beat the Wizards 152-133. The score and the result of the game were not what is fascinating about this game, rather the story behind it. Trae Young is the first player in 16 years to have a 45-point double-double with under 25 field goal attempts against the Washington Wizards. The last person to do that, none other than Kobe Bryant on December 17, 2006.
If that wasn’t ironic enough, Young scored 45 on only 24 shots, while wearing #8, which were both of Kobe’s jersey numbers he wore in his 20 year career. Just when you think the irony comes to a halt, it doesn’t. Young shot 13-for-16 from the free throw line. If you convert that to a percentage, it comes out to 81%. Kobe’s most famous performance was when he scored 81 points, the most in his prolific career, against the Toronto Raptors on January 22, 2006.
These aren’t the only insane numbers from tonight. Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker also played a part in these ironic stats. Booker dropped 36 points tonight in a loss against the Memphis Grizzlies. Some combined stats between Booker and Young make the irony even more nutty. Booker scored 36 points on 11 field goals made, while Young had 45 on 13 made field goals, while both attempting 24 shots each. If you add them together you get 81 points scored on 24 makes, once again seeing these iconic numbers. If that wasn’t enough, they also combined for 8 rebounds, with Trae having 6 and D-Book having 2. This duo had combined for stats that added up to the three most important numbers in Kobe’s career.
Does this mean something, or is it just a coincidence? Either way, it can’t be helped to notice how ironic it is.
The world isn’t going to be the same without Kobe and his mamba mentality. He inspired and directly made an impact in countless lives, including Trae. The many players that Kobe has helped and mentored over the years are forever grateful to have knowledge and wisdom passed down from one of the best to ever do it. Kobe’s legacy will live on strong as long as there is still a basketball to be dribbled. Condolences and prayers go out to the Bryant family, may Kobe and GiGi Bryant rest in paradise.