Klay Thompson thanked many people in his acceptance speech after winning the Best Comeback Athlete award at Wednesday night's ESPY awards, but he saved his childhood idol, Kobe Bryant, for last.
Vanessa Bryant, the wife of the late superstar and mother of Gigi Bryant, appreciated the classy shoutout from the Warriors sharpshooter.
"You’re a class act," Bryant wrote to Thompson on Instagram. "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."
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During his speech, Thompson recalled the days of tagging along with his dad, Mychal Thompson, to Lakers games to watch Bryant's pregame routine.
"The best memories I have growing up here in Southern California are going to STAPLES [Center] with my father. I had a privileged life," Thompson said in the speech. "He was a commentator for the Lakers, and I would go to every game early just to watch Kobe do his thing.
"Lastly, I would like to thank the Bryant family because -- I don’t know if Vanessa’s out there watching -- but to Vanessa and her three beautiful girls, we think of Kobe and Gigi every day. I read 'Mamba Mentality' every day during rehab.
"Those are the best memories of my life watching him play. He inspired me to be the athlete I am today."
After a long road back from two major injuries, Thompson returned to the Warriors on Jan. 9 and helped the team to its fourth championship in the last eight years.
He is a deserving winner of the award, and his speech will be remembered by the Bryant family for years to come.