Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar said he was deeply affected by the death of Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January.
The NBA legend, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were tragically killed along with seven others in a helicopter crash in January in Calabasas, California.
Neymar paid tribute to Bryant at the time, wearing a jersey in honour of the five-time NBA champion, while he dedicated a goal to the 2008 NBA MVP by holding up two fingers on one hand and four on the other – referencing the famous number 24 – in a Ligue 1 victory over Lille in February.
Following his tragic passing, Neymar was one of many footballers to come out and discuss the impact of Bryant, with Romelu Lukaku, Lionel Messi and Sergio Ramos among those to express their grief.
Recalling Bryant’s death, Neymar told Vogue Men Arabia:
“His death affected me a lot because our lives had much in common.
“I met Kobe personally and the times he came to Paris. When you meet the person behind the athlete, it creates a different relationship and with Kobe, it was very special. Sports and society lost a great guy.”