Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker has been honoring late NBA legend Kobe Bryant ever since his death on Jan. 26, and the 23-year-old’s latest tribute is one that will last forever.
Booker recently unveiled a new tattoo inspired by some advice Bryant had given him after their first game against each other in 2016.
According to NBC Sports, Bryant was so impressed by the rookie’s 28-point performance that he autographed a pair of shoes for Booker and wrote a short but powerful note on them: “Be Legendary.”
For Booker, the gesture was meaningful, especially since it came during Bryant’s final season with the Los Angeles Lakers, the team he played for his entire career.
In an Instagram post on Wednesday, Booker revealed he had turned Bryant’s inspirational message into an elegant tattoo on his forearm.
“Somethin to live by,” Booker wrote in the caption of the post, which featured pictures of him receiving the tattoo while wearing a shirt given to attendees of a memorial service for Bryant and his 12-year-old daughter, Gianna, on Feb. 24.
Booker’s ink was done by celebrity tattoo artist JonBoy.
This is not the first time Booker has paid tribute to Bryant following the fatal helicopter crash that killed the NBA icon and took the lives of eight others. During the NBA All-Star Game, Booker was also seen wearing a custom Los Angeles Lakers sweater with Bryant and Gianna’s names.
Booker also spoke out to the Arizona Republic about the example Bryant set for him as a player.
“It’s been a lot of what I do, man, mentality wise, approach wise everything, before I even knew him personally, he had shaped my life,” he told the outlet. “My basketball career. My approach to everything,”
“The biggest thing for me was earning his respect,” he added.
Booker said he eventually developed a friendship with Bryant, who would often give him guidance on how to develop his game.
“To even be the guy in the room after we play them that he wanted to talk to or share advice with. Then our relationship had grown from there,” he said. “Just figuring out what type of person he was outside of the Mamba mentality. How he raised his daughters and how much of a family man he was something that was just incredible.”
Barry Gossage/NBAE/Getty Devin Booker and Kobe Bryant
Booker is not the only athlete to get ink in tribute to Bryant.