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“Keeping His Legacy Alive”: Naomi Osaka Vows to Make NBA Legend Kobe Bryant Proud

“Keeping His Legacy Alive”: Naomi Osaka Vows to Make NBA Legend Kobe Bryant Proud

Naomi Osaka won her third Grand Slam title by winning the US Open 2020. Osaka defeated Victoria Azarenka 1-6, 6-3, 6-3 to lift her second US Open championship. Despite losing the first set and 0-2 down in the second, Osaka fought back to win the thrilling final in one hour and 53 minutes.

Naomi Osaka and Victoria Azarenka at the US Open 2020
Flushing Meadows, New York, USA; Victoria Azarenka of Belarus and Naomi Osaka of Japan celebrate with the finalist and championship trophies (respectively) after their match in the women’s singles final on day thirteen of the 2020 U.S. Open tennis tournament at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Mandatory Credit: Danielle Parhizkaran-USA TODAY Sports

During the post-match conference, the No. 4 seed Osaka spoke about the basketball legend Kobe Bryant. The Japanese star was friends with Bryant, who tragically lost his life in a helicopter crash in January. Naomi vowed to keep Kobe’s legacy alive and spoke about the importance of making him proud.

“Yeah, I mean, for me, I feel like at this point there are certain things that I do that I hope can make him proud. It’s, like, keeping his legacy alive for me. I think it’s amazing how one person can inspire so many people. Everyone has a really great story about him just being kind, spreading warmth,” Osaka said.

Kobe Bryant deeply inspired Osaka, and the 22-year-old expressed her desire to become what Bryant had thought she was going to be. Osaka wore a Kobe Bryant jersey after winning the final and posted a picture on Instagram while holding the US Open trophy.

“For me, I just want to be the person that he thought I was going to be. He thought I was going to be great, so hopefully I will be great in the future. Only time will tell. But, yeah,” added Osaka and expressed her gratitude to the basketball superstar.

After winning the final, Osaka lay down on the court in jubilation to reflect on the excruciating two weeks. The runner-up Azarenka had played her first major final in seven years. The Belarusian was not disappointed and was happy by her performance over the last three weeks.

Osaka, who has already been ranked as the highest-paid female athlete by Forbes, won a staggering $3 million in prize money for winning the US Open 2020.

Naomi Osaka to enter top-five in rankings

The three-time Grand Slam champion Osaka will now become the World No. 3 displacing Karolina Pliskova who lost in the second round of the US Open. Osaka is the first player since Arantxa Sanchez Vicario in 1994 to come from a set down to win the women’s final at the US Open.

The 22-year-old Naomi is 3-0 in Grand Slam finals and is the first Asian player to hold three Grand Slam singles titles.

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