Kobe Bryant’s love for his hometown football team was never questioned. In fact, his super fandom was immortalized in a touching video tribute.
Bryant, who grew up in the Philadelphia suburbs and attended Lower Merion High School, was a diehard Eagles fan. He delivered an awe-inspiring motivational speech to the team back in 2017 en route to the franchise’s first-ever Super Bowl championship.
After the Eagles beat the Patriots 41-33 in Super Bowl LII, Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, posted a candid video on Instagram where the Lakers legend is seen holding his daughter, Bianka, and celebrating the Eagles’ victory.
Looking back on it, the image sums up what people are feeling while watching this year’s battle between the Chiefs and 49ers. The intimate moment between a father and his daughter, intertwined with Bryant’s love affair with the Eagles, is something that cannot be faked or imitated. It was a beautiful snapshot of everyone’s shared humanity.
Bryant’s Super Bowl highlight went viral in the days following the game. He even sat down with ESPN’s The Undefeated to describe the moment in detail on Feb. 7, 2018.
“The spirit of the Eagle took a hold of me and I couldn’t contain myself but I had to because I was holding my little 1-year-old,” Bryant said, via ESPN’s The Undefeated. “But still, that moment where you see the ball in the air, and I’m just like, ‘No, and you see it’s Gronk and you’re like no, please no,’ and the ball is juggling around and you’re like no … you’ve seen the Patriots make those plays time and time again, right? So the ball hits the ground and I’m like yes but I look at the clock and ‘Oh my God’ and so it’s like everything just kind of happened one after the other.”
Chiefs & 49ers Players Pay Tribute to Kobe at Super Bowl LIV
Kobe Bryant’s memory has been lingering over Super Bowl LIV all week in Miami. There are multiple tributes planned for the game, including something special from Jennifer Lopez and Shakira during their halftime performance.
The players themselves have been slowly rolling out plans on social media. San Francisco receiver Emmanuel Sanders showed off specialty cleats honoring Bryant on Saturday while 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman showed up on Sunday wearing a No. 8 Lakers jersey.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced earlier this week that the league planned to honor Bryant at Super Bowl LIV, although he wouldn’t go into detail about what was in store. Whatever it is, the NFL is sure to do something powerful and meaningful to honor one of the greatest athletes in professional sports history.
“I don’t think just Los Angeles is mourning the loss of Kobe Bryant,” Goodell said at his annual pre-Super Bowl news conference, via the Orange County Register. “Kobe was a special person. I did have the opportunity to meet him. He obviously brought a lot to our world and I think all of us not only feel for the tragic events to his family but as well as everyone else who was a passenger on that helicopter. It’s hard to understand and it’s hard to process.”
Philadelphia Eagles Call Kobe ‘Champion for the Ages’
The Philadelphia Eagles — Kobe Bryant’s hometown football team — put out a heartfelt statement last week praising the work ethic and legacy of the fallen basketball star.
Remember, Bryant had given the Eagles a pep talk during their Super Bowl run in 2017 and often wore his custom No. 8 midnight green jersey or his No. 5 Donovan McNabb replica. He was a true fan.
“The Eagles are shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna,” the Eagles said in a statement. “He was a champion for the ages, a fearless competitor, and an outstanding ambassador for our city. Our hearts go out to all of today’s victims and their families.”
Several Eagles players posted their own tributes and memories of Bryant on social media. Bryant died on Jan. 26 in a horrific helicopter crash. He was 41 years old.
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