Super Bowl week is finally here and the Kansas City Chiefs are officially in Miami. The AFC champions touched down in South Beach Sunday evening to prepare for a busy week of practice, media appearances and various events ahead of Sunday’s game against the San Francisco 49ers.
Before festivities kicked off, Kansas City players took the time to honor the late Kobe Bryant, who died Sunday morning. The retired Los Angeles Lakers star, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others lost their lives in a helicopter crash Sunday morning.
Reigning league MVP and star quarterback Patrick Mahomes spoke to Bryant’s “Mamba Mentality,” describing how he modeled some of his own playing tactics after the fallen athlete.
Tight end Travis Kelce sent love to Bryant’s surviving family, his wife Vanessa and three other daughter.
“You can’t say enough about who he was and his impact,” Kelce said. “I just feel bad for the Bryant family and everybody involved. My heart’s with you as well as everyone here in America.”
Safety Tyrann Mathieu shared similar sentiments about the five-time NBA champion.
“I thought guys like him lived forever,” Honeybadger lamented.
Frank Clark, who grew up in South Central Los Angeles, called Bryant one of his “biggest idols.”
“He’s one of my biggest idols. The one person I looked to for inspiration and strength when going through what I was going through growing up was Kobe Bryant.”
NBA Postpones Clippers-Lakers Game
In the wake of Bryant’s passing, the NBA postponed Tuesday night’s primetime game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the LA Clippers.
“The decision was made out of respect for the Lakers organization, which is deeply grieving the tragic loss of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the seven other people in a helicopter crash Sunday,” a portion of the statement read.
Bryant spend the entirety of his illustrious 20-year career in Los Angeles and Staples Center was essentially his second home. Both of the Philadelphia native’s #8 and #24 jerseys were retired in 2018.
In a statement Sunday, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban officially declared that no player on his team would ever wear a jersey with the number 24 again.
“We are shocked and saddened by the devastating news of the passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. Kobe was an ambassador for our game, a decorated legend and a global icon. Above all, he was a loving and dedicated father.
“Kobe’s legacy transcends basketball, and our organization has decided that the number 24 will never again be worn by a Dallas Maverick.”
Lakers Superfan Jack Nicholson Remembers Bryant
Oscar-winning actor and longtime Lakers fan Jack Nicholson shared a touching tribute to Bryant on Monday, speaking to CBS Los Angeles about some of his favorite moments with Mamba.
“I teased him. It was at the Garden in New York and I offered him a basketball and asked him if he wanted me to autograph it for him. He looked at me like I was crazy,” the 82-year-old thespian said.
When asked how fellow fans should remember one of the best to ever do it, Nicholson delivered a short, yet moving response.
“I’m not a guy who tells people what to do, but I can tell you that I’ll remember him. For example, when I first talked to him after that first meeting, he called me onto the floor and said, ‘Jack I know you’re not going to want to do this, but they made me ask you.
“We’ll think of him all the time and we miss him. He was just one of those touched people.”