Basketball star Kobe Bryant tragically passed away in a helicopter accident exactly one week ago. Today, during the 2020 Super Bowl, the National Football League has arranged a tribute to the late basketball player. This year’s Super Bowl game is played between the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs.
In tribute to Bryant, both teams lined up at the 24-yard line to pay respects to the basketball legend, as well as the other eight people who passed in the helicopter crash, including Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant.
Here is what happened during the pre-game tribute:
Players Paid Tribute At The 24 Yard Line
The players of the San Francisco 49ers and the Kansas City Chiefs, as well as their team staff, stood at their respect 24-yard lines. The significance of the 24-yard line placement was in honor and remembrance of Bryant’s number 24 jersey when he played for the Los Angeles Lakers.
In the stands, fans donned Bryant’s yellow and purple 24 Lakers jersey. Some fans even had on Bryant’s jersey from Lower Merion High School. On the loudspeaker, the message heard during the tribute was “Ladies and gentlemen, please join in a moment of silence as the 49ers, Chiefs, and National Football League extend our deepest condolences to the friends and families of those lost this past week. … They will never be forgotten.”
Players And Audience Pay Tribute To All Nine Victims
During the on-field tribute, screens around the stadium showed a picture of Kobe Bryant with his daughter, Gigi. Also listed on the graphics were the names of the nine victims of the helicopter accident. Among those who passed in the crash were fellow youth basketball players of Mamba Academy and their families.
The nine victims of the crash included Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, Gianna’s teammate Payton Chester and mother, Sarah, teammate Alyssa Altobelli and her parents, John and Keri, and Christina Mauser, an assistant coach at Mamba Academy. The pilot of the helicopter, Ara Zobayan, was also killed. All nine names were displayed across Hard Rock Stadium during the tribute.
The NFL Honors Bryant Off The Field
In addition to paying tribute to Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, and the other victims of the accident, the NFL is raising funds for The Mamba Sports Foundation by auctioning off helmets and footballs signed by the players appearing in Super Bowl 24. The Mamba Foundation was created by Kobe Bryant to bring youth positive experiences in sports, as well as to cultivate meaningful relationships and long-lasting life skills.
The NFL is currently inviting viewers to bid on the signed auction items at NFL.com/auction. In addition to items benefiting Bryant’s foundation, there are items available for bidding whose proceeds will go towards disaster relief in affected areas and the foundations of various NFL players, such as The Aaron Donald 99 Solutions Foundation.