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During the 2022 ESPYS on July 20, the Golden State Warriors player received the title of Best Comeback Athlete. In the middle of his acceptance speech, the NBA champion looked back on the places and people who inspired him to dream big.
"The best memories I have growing up down here in Southern California are going to Staples with my father," he told the crowd inside the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. "I would go to every game early just to watch Kobe do his thing."
The memories propelled Klay to express his gratitude to the Bryant family for all they have done on and off the court. "I don't know if Vanessa is out there watching," the athlete continued, "but to Vanessa and her three beautiful girls, we think of Kobe and Gigi every day and I read Mamba Mentality every day during rehab and those are the best memories of my life watching him play."
"He inspired me to be the athlete that I am today," Klay added. "Thank you Kobe. Thank you Gigi."
During Game 6 of the NBA Finals back in June 2019, Klay tore his left ACL. In order to recover and get back in the game, the 32-year-old faced 17 months of rehab. Just last month, he helped the Golden State Warriors become NBA champions.
"He inspired me to be the athlete I am today."
Klay thanks Kobe and Gigi in his ESPYS acceptance speech 🙏 pic.twitter.com/2q1CahEXPY
— ESPN (@espn) July 21, 2022
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After watching the clip, Vanessa took to Instagram to share what the acceptance speech meant to her.
"@klaythompson, you're a class act," she wrote July 21. "Thank you for your support and love for Kobe, my Gigi and our family. Thank you for always including my Gigi when you think of Kob. Congratulations. #MambaMentality #Espys."
Awards and speeches aside, Klay made the most of his award show experience. In fact, the NBA player deserves a spot on the Best Dressed list after sportinf a Dolce & Gabbana tuxedo with a must-see Tissot USA watch. The entire look was styled by Vick Michel.