NEW YORK, NEW YORK - JANUARY 26: Spencer Dinwiddie #8 of the Brooklyn Nets sits on the bench before the game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on January 26, 2020 in New York City.NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

With tears running down his cheek, Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie discussed a special moment shared with the late Kobe Bryant.

The NBA universe lost an all-time great on Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020. At the age of 41, Kobe Bryant, as well as his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, were among nine victims who tragically died in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles County.

The dear friendship shared between Bryant and Kyrie Irving, who did not play due to personal reasons Sunday night in the Brooklyn Nets‘ matchup against the New York Knicks, was well documented.

With Irving out, Spencer Dinwiddie got the start.

Dinwiddie, a native of Los Angeles, grew up—like many others—idolizing Bryant.

So when Bryant told him he was playing like an NBA All-Star in their encounter last month, that was all the validation he needed.

“I met Kobe several times, exchanged pleasantries and text messages and things. Maybe this is a little bit overexaggerating but I felt like this was the first time he was looking at me as the basketball player Spencer,” Dinwiddie said with deep regret in his voice. “… For him to tell me that in his book I’m an All-Star and stuff like that, we’ve talked about the popularity contest before and you don’t win things like that when you’re me. For him to say that, I didn’t need to be selected anymore because I was an All-Star.”

Dinwiddie also took to his Instagram account to share the special moment he shared with Bryant and Irving last month.

View this post on Instagram

Proudest moment in my career. RIP

A post shared by Spencer Dinwiddie (@spencerdinwiddie) on

Those who were in action Sunday paid tribute to Kobe Bryant in a variety of ways. The Knicks and Nets were no exception.

Brooklyn won the opening tip, and Dinwiddie held onto the ball, forcing a self-inflicted 24-second shot clock violation. On the following possession, the Knicks did the same.

In his storied career that spanned 20 seasons for the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant wore Nos. 8 and 24 on the back of his jersey.

 

This will not be a day soon forgotten in the NBA spectrum. Kobe Bryant’s impact on the basketball court was marveled at by an entire generation of basketball fans. He’ll never be forgotten, and basketball will never be the same without him.

NYY

NYM

NYG

NYJ

NYK

BKN

NYR

NYI

NJD

SJU