The tragic deaths of Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash have been felt throughout the sports world, so it was only natural they managed to reach its biggest stage.
A full week removed from the crash, tributes to Bryant showed up in full force at Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium. It started with San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman showing up to the game in an old Bryant All-Star jersey.
Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman Cameron Erving made a similar fashion choice.
Sherman also recorded a pregame segment reciting a poem called “Dear Football,” which was more than a little similar to Bryant’s Oscar-winning short film “Dear Basketball.”
Several players also suited up with cleats dedicated to Bryant’s memory.
“I’ll do whatever it takes to win. Whether it’s sitting on the bench waiving a towel. Handing out cups of water to my teammates or hitting the game winning shot.” - 🖤 Mamba pic.twitter.com/p1BowN840D— Emmanuel Sanders (@ESanders_10) February 1, 2020
The official recognition of Bryant’s death came as all the players took the field. They lined up at the 24-yard line’, with a brief moment of silence held while the victims’ names were shown on the big screen.
Teams lined up on the 24-yard line as Kobe Bryant tribute forthcoming... pic.twitter.com/v83Ttu5pn2— Nick Wagoner (@nwagoner) February 2, 2020
The tributes continued after the game, with victorious Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy sporting a Bryant Lakers jersey in the locker room. McCoy described Bryant as his idol.
"I lost my idol and I lost my friend. I just want to show him love."@Chiefs RB LeSean McCoy puts on a Kobe jersey in the locker room and shares what the Laker legend meant to him 💜💛 pic.twitter.com/3kw2Oa3NtC— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) February 3, 2020
All of that goes to show just how much Bryant’s legacy reached beyond the basketball world. His death has been mourned everywhere, not just in the United States and not just among athletes and sports fans. He was truly a global cultural figure, and the loss of him and eight others still feels surreal.
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