Sabrina Ionescu Wears Kobe Bryant Lakers Jersey to 2021 Liberty Season Opener

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 14, 2021

New York Liberty guard Sabrina Ionescu brings the ball up the court during the second half of a WNBA basketball game against the Seattle Storm, Saturday, July 25, 2020, in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack

New York Liberty star Sabrina Ionescu arrived for Friday's season opener against the Indiana Fever wearing a Kobe Bryant jersey:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

.@sabrina_i20 showing love to Kobe ahead of her @nyliberty season debut 🙏 @brkicks pic.twitter.com/TIt0rPvWhS

Ionescu and Bryant were close friends, and Emily Carson of Sporting News noted that friendship "was born out of the dream they shared: to elevate women's basketball to the national level."

The Oregon product was also friends with Bryant's daughter, Gianna, and helped her work on her game.

Kobe and Gianna died in a helicopter crash in January 2020. Ionescu spoke at his memorial at Staples Center.

On the court, she is looking to bounce back in her second season after she played just three games as a rookie because of injury. The No. 1 pick of the 2020 WNBA draft averaged 18.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 4.0 assists a night prior to the injury.

Bryant is set to be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday.