From an early age, Toronto Raptors guard and San Diego native Norman Powell grew up idolizing Kobe Bryant.
After Toronto's win over San Antonio on Sunday, the 26-year-old spoke with reporters on Bryant's tragic death, his influence and properly honouring the legend.
"He meant everything. I model the whole mentality of being an ultimate competitor, grinding, working day in and day out, sacrificing a lot of things to get to where you want to be. I try to implement that in my game."
Powell continued, adding that Bryant's influence impacts "the way I go about basketball, life, competing, working to be the best. Maximizing the God-given abilities, just like he did."
This past offseason, Powell was able to forge a deeper relationship with Bryant, as he was one of around 20 players that were invited to a mini-camp hosted at Bryant's training facility in Thousand Oaks, CA. Powell detailed this experience to TSN's Josh Lewenberg in October.
Like a number of other players in the NBA, Powell plays in sneakers from Nike's Kobe signature line and wears the No. 24 because of Bryant.
When asked about the potential of retiring Kobe's number league-wide, Powell asserted that it would be an appropriate gesture: "Yes, definitely. The reason why I wear 24 is because of Kobe. So, whatever it takes to honour him, (he's) one of the greatest to ever do it."
He added, "If they want to retire 24, I'll find a new number. Go to 8, go to something, but find a way to relate back to Kobe somehow, someway."
Just hours after Powell was asked about retiring the number, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban announced in an official statement that "the number 24 will never again be worn by a Dallas Maverick."
Powell and the Raptors are back in action on Tuesday when they host the Atlanta Hawks.