Neymar pays tribute to Kobe Bryant after NBA legend dies in helicopter crash

Neymar held up ’24’ to reference Kobe Bryant’s jersey number for LA Lakers (Canal Plus)

Neymar has paid tribute to Kobe Bryant after the NBA legend was killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were two of the five people on board the aircraft which crashed outside the city of Calabasas, which is situated to the west of Los Angeles, at around 10am on Sunday morning.

The former LA Lakers star was reportedly travelling with his daughter to basketball practice at his Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks, a city to the west of Calabasas.

Neymar met Bryant during a training session with Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 and the Brazilian paid tribute to the basketball legend on Sunday evening during his side’s 2-0 win over Lille.

After scoring a penalty to double his side’s lead, Neymar held up ’24’ with his fingers as a reference to Bryant’s jersey number for the LA Lakers.

‘I looked at the messages at half-time. This is a time of immense sadness for the world of sport. Not just basketball fans,’ Neymar told Canal Plus after the match.

‘I knew him. This celebration was for him. I hope he rests in peace.’

Neymar met Kobe Bryant during PSG’s training session in 2017 (ESPN FC/YouTube)

Bryant, meanwhile, is widely regarded as one of the most successful basketball players of all time having won five NBA championships with LA Lakers, appeared in 18 All-Star games and scoring 33,643 points before retiring in 2016.

He was also named NBA’s Most Valuable Player in 2008 and the MVP in two NBA Finals.

Bryant also won two gold medals for the USA at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

The helicopter crashed outside the city of Calabasas, situated to the west of Los Angeles (Metro)
The helicopter crashed in the hills of Calabasas, California (LA County Sheriffs)
Emergency vehicles had difficulty getting to the crashed helicopter (LA County Sheriffs)


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