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Italy mourns 'adopted son' Kobe Bryant

Italy mourns 'adopted son' Kobe Bryant

Basketball great spent early school years in Bel Paese

27 Gennaio 2020

Rome, January 27 - Italy on Monday mourned adopted son Kobe Bryant, the basketball legend who has died at the age of 41 in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles. Bryant did a lot of his growing up in Italy spending the ages of six to 13 at Italian schools as his father played in the Italian basketball league. In Rieti, his first Italian stop, basketball fans said "all the hearts of Rieti people are stopping in these minutes, because there is a chill in our souls and choked-back tears, and we remember all the games of his das Joe". Sports Minister Vincenzo Spadafora recalled Bryant as an "immense champion, a positive symbol, a great man". "His tragic death leaves everyone without words," he said. "The NBA star started shooting his first hoops in Italy, when he was a little boy, when his father played in our basketball championship". AS Roma soccer legend Francesco Totti said "I salute a great man and a great player, whom I had the pleasure to meet". Bryant often came to Italy to see old friends. He also gave his two daughters Italian names, including Gianna Maria, the 13-year-old who died with him in the copter crash. Juventus star Cristiano Ronaldo said "rest in peace legend".

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