Justin Thomas finds unique way to honor Kobe Bryant following his tragic death
The entire sports community is mourning the tragic death of NBA superstar Kobe Bryant, who died on Sunday in a helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others. The golf world is no different, with a host of top players posting tributes to Bryant and offering their condolences to all those affected.
Justin Thomas, who also posted several tributes to Bryant across social media accounts, found an additional way to honor the late basketball legend. On Tuesday, JT shared a photo of his Titleist Vokey wedge on his Instagram story, along with custom-stamping on the back that reads: “MAMBA MENTALITY”.
Here’s another photo of the wedge, shot by GOLF equipment editor Andrew Tursky at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
The stamp references the nickname Bryant earned during his career, Black Mamba, and acted as his philosophy for life.
“To sum up what Mamba Mentality is,” Bryant said after his retirement in 2016, “it means to be able to constantly try to be the best version of yourself… that is what the Mentality is. It’s a constant quest to try to better today than you were yesterday.”
In addition to the wedge stamp, Thomas sported a new Scotty Cameron putter cover in Lakers purple and gold, with “RIP KOBE” and “RIP GIGGI” (the nickname of Bryant’s daughter Gianna) stitched into the front.
It would be hard to find a PGA Tour player who didn’t admire Bryant’s athletic prowess. Tiger Woods, for example, had this to say on Sunday after his final round at the Farmers Insurance Open: “The fire — he burns so competitively hot — and the desire to win,” Woods said of Bryant. “He brought it each and every night on both ends of the floor. Not too many guys can say that throughout NBA history.”
But Thomas was something of a superfan. On Instagram, Thomas posted a photo of Bryant reading a paper following the Lakers 2002 NBA Finals victory over the then-New Jersey Nets, along with the message, “RIP, Mamba. You will forever be an idol to me.”
He also paid tribute to Kobe with several tweets, including one in which he wrote, “I have no words other than RIP to somebody I loved and wanted to be like when it was game time. #MambaMentality.”
Can’t get this video out of my head. Of all the things I loved Kobe for, this one is just so cool to me. I have no words other than RIP to somebody I loved and wanted to be like when it was game time. 💛💜 #24 #8 #MambaMentality https://t.co/6bs1Wq4Xro— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) January 26, 2020
January 26, 2020
One fan came across a video of Thomas from a practice round at the 2018 Players Championship, where JT yells “Kobe” right before hitting an escape shot from a grove of trees, which Thomas also shared on Twitter.
KOBE!!! Great video haha thank you https://t.co/emJg0sd5FT— Justin Thomas (@JustinThomas34) January 27, 2020
Thomas and the rest of the PGA Tour head to Arizona this week for the Waste Management Phoenix Open, where we will likely see even more Bryant tributes from the pros and fans alike.
To receive GOLF’s all-new newsletters, subscribe for free here.