Taking to Rod Laver Arena the following day, an emotional Kyrgios succumbed to a 6-3 3-6 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-4) loss against the world number one, but revealed Bryant's passing had been on his mind.
"I never met Kobe but basketball is practically my life. I watch it every day. I've been following it for as long as I can remember," said Kyrgios.
"When I woke up to the news, it was pretty emotional. It was pretty heavy, like, all day. Obviously I was having basketball on at my house, watching the games. It was heavy. It's just tough. It's horrible news.
"If you look at the things he stood for, what he wanted to be remembered by, I felt like, if anything, it helped me tonight. When I was down a break in the fourth, I was definitely thinking about it. I fought back."
Kyrgios is a fan of the Boston Celtics, a side who were often on the receiving end of Bryant's brilliance, but the 24-year-old had long admired the five-time NBA champion's skill and dedication to his craft.
"I'm a Celtic fan. When I saw Kobe do what he does, break the hearts of so many Celtics fans, it was tough to see," he said.
"I don't think they make them like him anymore. He was different, the way he trained, the way he did things, the way he played. He was special."