Skip to main content

Kobe Bryant 'meant something special' to Davante Adams, Za'Darius Smith

Packers’ Pro Bowlers pay homage to the Lakers legend in Orlando

LB Za'Darius Smith, WR Davante Adams
LB Za'Darius Smith, WR Davante Adams

GREEN BAY – Davante Adams, like most California kids who love the game of basketball, grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant.

So after news broke before Sunday's Pro Bowl that Bryant had been killed in a helicopter crash earlier that morning, the Packers receiver felt compelled to do something to honor the Los Angeles Lakers legend.

After catching a 13-yard touchdown from Minnesota quarterback Kirk Cousins, Adams found the nearest end-zone camera and flashed "2-4" with his fingers, honoring the last jersey number Bryant wore with the Lakers, before sprinting to the goal post and performing a 360-dunk on the upright.

"I've always been able to dunk a little bit; I'm a big basketball guy," Adams told sideline reporter Lisa Salters afterward. "So Kobe always meant something special to me, being from California especially."

Adams, a native of Palo Alto who was making his third straight Pro Bowl appearance, finished with six catches for 61 yards and two touchdowns. He also completed a 34-yard pass to Detroit receiver Kenny Golladay off a trick play in the second quarter.

Packers linebacker Za'Darius Smith also paid homage to Bryant in the midst of his own standout performance in Orlando. Following both of his sacks Sunday, Smith called together his NFC teammates and collectively performed Bryant's patented shot fake and fadeaway jumper in celebratory tribute.

"It was a tribute to Kobe, him and his family," Smith told Salters. "We came in on third down (and said), 'Man this is what we're gonna do. We're gonna do two steps and then we gonna do the fadeaway for him.' For everybody to participate as a team, I just hope that touched a lot of people in a special way."

Making his Pro Bowl debut, Smith added a strip-sack of Houston quarterback Deshaun Watson at the start of the second half and had an interception of Miami's Ryan Tannehill at the end of the third quarter, returning it 16 yards.

Defensive tackle Kenny Clark, the Packers' third Pro Bowl representative, had a solo tackle in the first quarter.

The AFC won the game 38-33.

Related Content