Basketball legend Kobe Bryant honored at Super Bowl
The sports world continues to honor basketball legend Kobe Bryant a week after he and eight others – including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna – died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif.
The San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs paid tribute to Bryant and the other victims prior to kickoff of the Super Bowl on Sunday.
The Chiefs and 49ers lined up at their respective 24-yard lines after warm-ups, representing one of Bryant’s jersey numbers.
Bryant wore No. 24 in his final 10 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers and No. 8 in his first 10 seasons.
Individual players also honored the five-time NBA champion.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders tweeted pictures of custom cleats Saturday with one having a depiction of Bryant in a crown and the other having his jersey numbers.
“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
On the other side, one shoe has Bryant’s signature and the other reads the message “Rest in Peace.”
Teammate Dante Pettis also had custom cleats, sporting purple-and-gold ones with the words “Mamba Out”.
Bryant said these two words to end his retirement speech in 2016.
Kansas City’s Demarcus Robinson’s cleats, meanwhile, had images of Bryant and his number 24.
— Demarcus Robinson (@Demarcus) February 2, 2020
49ers cornerback Richard Sherman arrived in a Bryant jersey on Sunday and read a poem called “Dear Football” on Fox’s pregame show.
Bryant wrote a similar poem called “Dear Basketball” in 2015 to announce that he was playing his final season.
— FOX Sports (@FOXSports) February 2, 2020
Longtime Minnesota Vikings star and Pro Football Hall of Famer Chris Doleman, who died last week, was also honored prior to the Super Bowl kicking off.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.