January 29, 2020
'Jersey Shore' Star Vinny Guadagnino Recalls Kobe Bryant's Kindness With Photo & Video Tribute

Jersey Shore: Family Vacation star Vinny Guadagnino recalled the kindness of late basketball legend Kobe Bryant, sharing a series of memorable photos of him and Kobe on Instagram. He also shared a video where he paid tribute to the Lakers superstar after learning of his sudden death on January 26.

Vinny shared three photos that showed the two meeting on the court at New York's Madison Square Garden.

He then shared a video of Kobe calling Vinny down from the bleachers, where he was watching the game, to have him come on to the court for a quick meet-up. In the video's caption, Vinny noted that meeting Kobe was the "greatest experience of my life."

The Jersey Shore star explained that the basketball legend pulled him out of the crowd to tell him he saw him wearing his signature shoes on the show. Later, Vinny revealed that Kobe then sent 20 boxes of sneakers to his home in appreciation of his support for the shoe line.

Vinny remarked in the caption that people say that if you meet your heroes you might be disappointed. He revealed that he did not have that experience with Kobe, who was genuine and kind to "a D-list star," as the Jersey Shore celeb called himself.

In the pics, Vinny wore a leather jacket over a dark gray hoodie and a pair of dark jeans. He had his hair cut into a short style, similar to how the reality star looked when Jersey Shore first started airing on MTV. In the photos, Kobe was wearing his Lakers uniform.

Fans of the reality star shared their own sentiments regarding the photos, including some of Vinny's Jersey Shore castmates, including Jenni "JWoww" Farley, Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi, and Ronnie Ortiz-Magro, who shared their cast mate's sadness.

"Happy for you that you had a chance to meet him. Great player great man," wrote a social media follower, discussing both the reality star and the late basketball legend.

"That's special you have that memory and experience you can cherish! So heartbroken," stated a second admirer of the Jersey Shore star.

"Beautiful words.....the world has lost one of the best," a third fan commented, followed by three black emoji hearts.

Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant, were flying to his Mamba Sports Academy, where the basketball star was to coach his daughter's youth basketball team. Gianna was the second-oldest of Kobe's four children with wife, Vanessa.

Their helicopter crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, California, killing all nine people on board.

John Altobelli, 56, a baseball coach at Orange Coast College, his wife, Keri, and their daughter Alyssa -- who was a teammate of Gianna's -- also died in the crash, reported The New York Times. Another of Gianna's teammates, Peyton Chester, along with her mother Sarah, were also killed.