Basketball fans throughout the United States are mourning the stunning death of basketball legend Kobe Bryant, and now reports detail that many in the country of Italy are shaken by this tragic news as well. Many who followed Kobe’s career knew that he spent much of his childhood in Italy, and he gave the country a great deal of credit for helping him become the basketball player he was. Now, the Italian Basketball Federation has shared their plans for the country to mourn and honor the NBA legend’s passing.
On Monday, the site for the Italian Basketball Federation shared their plans for honoring Kobe this week. Federation president Giovanni Petrucci has put together a plan for all of the federation games throughout the country to have a moment of silence to pay tribute to Kobe.
“A small but heartfelt and dutiful gesture to honor the life and memory of Kobe Bryant, absolute champion who has always had Italy in his heart,” the press release detailed.
As The Inquisitr detailed earlier, Kobe played for a junior basketball team in Italy while living there in his youth. Kobe’s father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant, had become a celebrity in Italy after playing there for several years after he finished his time in the NBA.
“Kobe, who tragically disappeared yesterday in a helicopter accident together with his daughter Gianna and seven other people, was and will always be linked to our country,” the federation’s press release continued.
As CNN details, this gesture from the Italian Basketball Federation applies to all games at all levels and ages throughout the country.
Despite having moved away from Italy as a teen, the country always held a special place in Kobe’s heart. As the Italian publication il Resto del Carlino noted several years ago, the NBA star credited his time in Italy as central to the amazing career he developed.
When talking with the media outlet during a return visit to the area where he spent part of his youth, Kobe explained in fluent Italian that his story and dream began in that town. He added that he is the example showing that all dreams can come true.
While Kobe had developed many youth-related opportunities in the States to help kids get involved in basketball, he talked about wanting to do the same in Italy. During that visit several years ago, he talked about putting together basketball camps, clinics, and even a school that would help local kids develop not only good basketball skills but a good culture base to pursue other professions.
It is clear that Kobe was beloved by millions of NBA fans throughout the U.S., but he held a very special place in the hearts of Italian basketball fans as well.