Justin Thomas finds unique way to honor Kobe Bryant following his tragic death

January 28, 2020
Justin Thomas posted a photo of his Kobe Bryant-inspired wedge stamp on Tuesday

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”.

Justin Thomas' Vokey wedge with a custom stamp honoring Kobe Bryant.

Here’s another photo of the wedge, shot by GOLF equipment editor Andrew Tursky at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.

Justin Thomas' wedge at the Waste Management Phoenix Open.
Andrew Tursky

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.

Justin Thomas' new putter cover honors Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who both died in a helicopter crash on Sunday.
Andrew Tursky

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.”

View this post on Instagram

RIP, Mamba. You will forever be an idol to me 💜💛

A post shared by Justin Thomas (@justinthomas34) on

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.”

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.

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.