Jessica Pegula called Kobe Bryant one of her "biggest inspirations" on 24th August, the day celebrated as Kobe Bryant Day. Pegula, the top-ranked American tennis female player, reveals she read a lot about Bryant's mindset after the Los Angeles Lakers legend retired from basketball in 2016.
At the time, Pegula just turned 22 and she was hoping to make a name for herself in tennis. Now, Pegula ranked at No 3 in the world and is considered one of the best players in women's tennis. Bryant, a former five-time NBA champion with the Lakers, tragically died in 2020 January.
As a player, Bryant went down as one of the greatest champions and competitors in NBA history.
Pegula on being inspired by Bryant
“He was always one of my biggest inspirations. When he retired, I read so much about his career, his game and his mindset—his Mamba Mentality of having to be the best version of yourself every single day and every moment.
That just really spoke true to me," Pegula told Ed McGrogan of tennis.com. This week ahead of the US Open, Pegula met with kids in New York for a tennis clinic. “He was the same person that said, 'If you’re not giving back to your sport or the next generation, then what are you really doing this for?’” Pegula recalled.
As the top-ranked American female tennis player, Pegula recognizes that she has the ability to make a positive impact on kids and grow the sport in the United States. “I just love playing games with them, and having fun on the court.
That’s what it’s all about. It’s important to keep growing the game and giving these kids an opportunity to have a tennis racquet in their hand, and fall in love with the sport. And for me and few other of the girls to hopefully be an inspiration for them," Pegula said.
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