When Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Derek Carr takes the field in 2020, he will pay tribute to a fellow athlete. He will wear an arm sleeve on his left arm to honor the late Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 along with his daughter Gianna and seven others. Carr was a fan of Bryant throughout his career with the Los Angeles Lakers and later became friends with the late NBA star.
"This is a personal thing. I don't care what anybody else thinks about it — this is for me," Carr said during a Zoom call, per ESPN. "What would be a cool way to honor Kobe Bryant? He always wore an arm sleeve on his [right] arm — I can't wear one on my right arm, so I was like, 'You know what, I'll wear one on my left arm.' It's really just to honor Kobe."
Mamba Mentality for @derekcarrqb this year.
Locked in. pic.twitter.com/dAv4u35rLE— B/R Gridiron (@brgridiron) August 5, 2020
The Raiders QB has often spoken about Bryant throughout his career and how he tries to capture the Mamba Mentality when leading the football team onto the field. When Bryant died, Carr posted a photo of them hugging and talked about how this death was painful. The two athletes were friendly off of the field, to the point that Bryant showed support for Carr when he suffered a season-ending broken right fibula in 2016.
Carr continued to elaborate on his decision and said that he is sure that many other players will join him in honoring Bryant. This includes Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Darius Slay, who switched his number to 24 for the 2020 season. Bryant made an impact on athletes across several sports, and they have found ways to pay tribute to him in the months since his death.
"Just getting to know him and talk to him, have [a] conversation with him, just what he meant to me as an athlete, the 'Mamba Mentality' is trying to be the best version of yourself every day," Carr explained. "I have a big poster in my weight room now with that 'Mamba Mentality' mantra on it and it's just a way that I can honor him. So, I'll wear [the sleeve] all year ... to honor him and just what he meant to me as a kid growing up. That's the extent of it. I don't care about looking good unless it's for how my wife wants me to look at dinner. It's to honor Kobe and just what he meant to me."