Not only did the NBA honor Kobe Bryant following his untimely death, but the National Football League paid tribute to the athlete at Super Bowl LIV on Sunday, February 2, in Miami. Before the kickoff, the Kansas City Chiefs, the San Francisco 49ers and fans took a moment to remember Bryant, his daughter Gianna, 13, Payton Chester, 13, Alyssa Altobelli, 14, Keri Altobelli, John Altobelli, 57, Christina Mauser, 38, Ara Zobayan, 50, and Sarah Chester, 46, who were all killed in a helicopter crash on January 26. The athletes stood on the 24-yard in honor of Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers jersey number.
One day after the incident, the NFL couldn’t help but say positive things about Bryant. “Kobe was an extraordinary athlete who thrilled and entertained sports fans around the world for a generation,” the organization said in a statement. “Our thoughts are with the Bryant family, Kobe’s fans, his teammates, the Lakers organization and the NBA.”
In addition, the 49ers wrote a sweet note about the former MVP. “A legend gone too soon,” the team wrote on social media. “With heavy hearts, we send our condolences to the Bryant family after the tragic loss of Kobe and Gianna. Prayers for all the families who lost a loved one. #RIPMamba.”
The basketball star — who is survived by his wife, Vanessa Bryant, and their three daughters: Natalia, Bianka and Capri — and the eight others were on their way to Thousand Oaks for basketball practice at Bryant’s Mamba Academy, but unfortunately, they didn’t make it to their final destination when the chopper crashed.
On January 31, the Los Angeles Lakers played for the first time since Bryant’s death, and Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth sang “See You Again” for the crowd. Not only did fans leave gifts outside of the Staples Center in Los Angeles, but LeBron James — Bryant’s close friend — got emotional talking about the athlete on the court. “Now, I know at some point, we will have a memorial for Kobe,” the 35-year-old began. “But I look at this as a celebration tonight. This is a celebration of the 20 years of the blood, the sweat, the tears, the broken-down body, the getting up, the sitting down, the everything. The countless hours, the determination to be as great as he could be. Tonight, we celebrate the kid that came here at 18 years old of age, retired at 38 and became probably the best dad we’ve seen over the past three years, man.”
Later on, Vanessa, 37, uploaded a photo of her husband’s jersey along with Gianna’s on Instagram after the game. “There is no #24 without #2,” she wrote. “#GirlDaddy #DaddysGirl #MyBabies #OurAngels #KobeandGigi.”
We are thinking of everyone during this tough time.
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