NASCAR driver Daniel Suarez wants to live his life like late Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant. To honor the former NBA legend, Suarez decided to give back to the community, which led to him auctioning off his personalized Bryant racing gear to aid the families of the victims in the helicopter crash that killed Bryant, his 13-year old daughter Gianna and seven others.
"I became a Kobe Bryant fan not for everything he did in the basketball world, but for everything he did on the outside," Suarez said to TMZ.
The 28-year old also said that he wanted to give back like Bryant used to do on a regular basis.
"I really wanted to do something to honor him," Suarez added, "in a way to give back, like how he used to do it."
Suarez wore custom Bryant shoes and gloves, which can be found on his official website. He placed the items on eBay and the auction ends on Friday.
"As athletes, we all strive to be great at our game, but equally as important is how good we are outside the racetrack, off the court, and off the field," Suarez wrote on his website.
"I can't think of anyone who did this better than Kobe Bryant. He was, what we as athletes, all hope to become one day. "One of the qualities I admired most about him was his unwavering commitment to his team, and his legacy of uniting fans from all races and backgrounds (including the African-American and Hispanic communities) through their love of the sport.
"It is my biggest honor to wear these gloves and shoes this weekend in California, as a tribute to Kobe, Gianna, and the seven other victims from the tragic helicopter crash, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Ara Zobayan, Sarah Chester and Payton Chester."0comments
Along with his racing gear, Suarez had Bryant's name and the names of the other eight victims on the passenger-side door of his No. 96 Toyota Camry. Suarez told TMZ the auction has exceeded expectations as the price is set at $4,500 as of Thursday afternoon.
The Daniel Suarez No. 96 has the names of the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash victims above the passenger-side door. pic.twitter.com/RPbFw48eQw— Bob Pockrass (@bobpockrass) February 28, 2020
"I think the gloves and shoes were the perfect toast to do it and it's really great," Suarez added.
"The auction is still going on, we still have a few more days and it's doing amazing. Way better than what we were expecting!"