Jayson Tatum to Wear Kobe Bryant’s No. 10 Team USA Jersey at Olympics: ‘Nothing Short of an Honor’

The Boston Celtics star will compete in the Paris Olympics alongside LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Kawhi Leonard

<p>Mercedes Oliver/NBAE via Getty, Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty </p> Jayson Tatum and Kobe Bryant

Mercedes Oliver/NBAE via Getty, Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty

Jayson Tatum and Kobe Bryant

NBA champion Jayson Tatum will wear the No. 10 for Team USA in the upcoming Summer Olympics, the same jersey number worn by Kobe Bryant at the 2008 and 2012 Games.

Speaking to reporters at USA Basketball's training camp in Las Vegas, Tatum, 26, emphasized the significance of honoring his late idol in Paris.

Tatum, who just won his first title with the Boston Celtics in June, said wearing No. 10 after Bryant is "nothing short of an honor."

"Anyone who remotely knows me knows how much influence that he had on me as a kid, inspiring me to reach my goals," Tatum continued of Bryant, who tragically died in a tragic helicopter crash alongside his daughter Gianna, and seven others, in Calabasas, Calif., in 2020.

"It's definitely not something I take for granted or lightly," Tatum concluded during the media availability.

Tatum first met Bryant when he was a kid, and the two eventually formed a close bond through basketball. After Tatum's rookie year, he trained with Bryant during the offseason and looked to the five-time NBA champ for advice.

Related: Jayson Tatum Texted Late Kobe Bryant Before Celtics Eastern Conference Win: 'I Got You'

After Bryant's death, Tatum penned a heartfelt tribute on Instagram in which he called Bryant "the reason I fell in love with" basketball.

"Growing up wanting to be just like you, to you becoming a mentor, beyond thankful for everything you’ve done for me," Tatum wrote, revealing that Bryant once told him, “I didn’t have a plan B I put all my eggs in one basket and I knew I was going to make it happen."

Related: Jayson Tatum’s Son Deuce, 6, Grows Up Fast in Adorable Recreation Video from 2024 NBA Finals: 'Making Memories'

Tatum said Bryant's words "stuck with me every day of my life" and added, "You inspired me and I am forever grateful more than you know! Love you Bean."

Tatum has found multiple ways to honor his late mentor on and off the court.

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After competing in an Eastern Conference Finals game in 2022, Tatum — who wore a purple and gold sweatband with his Celtics uniform, in a nod to the Lakers' colors — revealed on social media that he sent a text message to Bryant's phone number before tip-off.

"I got you today," Tatum wrote in the message.

Alongside Tatum on Team USA's roster are stars like LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Steph Curry and Kawhi Leonard, who will compete for gold in Paris when the Games kick off on July 26.

To learn more about all the Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls, visit TeamUSA.com and come to people.com to check out ongoing coverage before, during and after the games. Watch the Paris Olympics and Paralympics, beginning July 26, on NBC and Peacock.

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