Basketball officials in Italy have expressed their sorrow over the loss of NBA legend Kobe Bryant and claimed that the Lakers’ number 24 will be mourned in the country for a whole week.
As the Italian Basketball Federation confirmed, the 41-year-old Hall of Famer will be mourned for a total of seven days due to Bryant spending several years of his youth in the country.
Mr. Bryant moved to Rieti, a city in central Italy, at the age of six in order for his father to be able to play for Italian teams.
While the gifted boy frequently attended training in the USA, he moved to the country for good at the age of 13.
“We are shocked and saddened by what happened to him and his daughter Gianna and we hold his family close to our hearts in this moment of sorrow,” Giovanni Petrucci, the president of the Italian Basketball Federation, said in an interview with CNN following the tragic chopper crash in which nine people, including Kobe and his daughter Gianna, lost their lives.
“It’s a small gesture to honor Kobe’s memory, but one that is heartfelt and deserved.”
Paying a tribute to one of the best basketball players of all time was also Davide Giudici who used to be Kobe’s teammate and a close friend when they were young.
“He was obviously already really good. We had a strong team, but he was better than all of us,” he told CNN, recalling the time he played basketball with Bryant.
“I mean, I think we knew he was going to become a professional basketball player. We didn’t know then that he was going to be one of the biggest stars in the world.”
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