Los Angeles Rams LB Bobby Wagner paid tribute to Kobe Bryant in season opener

BySarah Barshop ESPN logo
Thursday, September 15, 2022

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- In his first game with the Los Angeles Rams, linebacker Bobby Wagner wore a thigh pad with a visible image of the late Kobe Bryant in a Los Angeles Lakers jersey.

The Southern California native said Bryant was "somebody that has inspired me," and that he wanted to honor the basketball legend.

"I think he was one of the first players that I watched from start to finish," Wagner said. "He was somebody that I looked up to growing up. Obviously his untimely death hit the world. And I felt like with me coming back to L.A., I think it was just a way to honor somebody that's done a lot in my life that he probably didn't even know."

Wagner said he met Bryant thanks to his "good friend" Richard Sherman, who was his teammate with the Seattle Seahawks.

Bryant and Wagner had a conversation that Wagner called "a pretty surreal moment for me." Wagner said the pair talked about business and Bryant's life off the basketball court.

"I've heard a lot of stories about how, how he is on the court was exactly how he was in the meeting rooms and stuff like that," Wagner said. "So when we were sitting there, he was really on every single detail when it came to business and I was just really impressed that somebody that spent so many years in one profession was able to transition and be kind of equally feared in the business world because of how smart and how in tune he was.

"I want to aspire to be like that."

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