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27th Jan 2020

Robbie Keane shares touching memories of his time in LA with Kobe Bryant

James Fenton

Since the news broke of Kobe Bryant’s death on Sunday evening, social media has been alight with tributes from fans as well as famous names in entertainment, basketball and sport as a whole.

Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among nine people who lost their lives in a helicopter crash in California and the international reaction to the news has been one of shock and sorrow.

The NBA star’s profile was so big that not only did he influence young people in his own sport, countless athletes who have never picked up a basketball have been sharing posts about how Bryant inspired them to reach the top of their game.

Major stars such as David Beckham and Tiger Woods have paid tribute to Kobe and Gianna while here in Ireland, a number of Irish athletes have added to the condolences.

This afternoon, Ireland’s record goalscorer Robbie Keane has shared a picture of himself and his son Robert Jr having a conversation with Bryant while the pair were both playing for teams in Los Angeles.

As Bryant was approaching the end of his career with the LA Lakers, Keane was a prolific goalscorer for LA Galaxy and the Tallaght native’s touching tribute today paints a picture of a mutual respect between the pair during that time.

Keane writes: ‘The world is in mourning for the legend that was Kobe Bryant and his beautiful daughter Gianna. I still cannot comprehend this tragedy and I can’t effectively put into words my sadness and condolences to his wife Vanessa, his daughters and the other families who lost loved ones.’

‘On a personal note, I got to know Kobe when I was playing for the LA galaxy and him for the LA Lakers. I loved to take my son Robert to the Staples Centre to watch him play he was so gifted and special and everybody around him loved him. He was always gracious and kind, a very nice person on and off the court, he showed great support for other sports and often come to a Galaxy game with his family, he was a family man.’

I was lucky to witness his last game for the Lakers in the Staples Centre, it’s something I’ll always cherish the pure emotion of the fans how much he meant to them, a true inspiration! I was asked before the game to say a few words on screen I mean how do you some up Kobe Bryant and do him justice but I meant every word I said. Kobe you are a legend, the best there has ever been, thank you for the memories! Your legacy will live on through your children. Thank you Kobe, sleep well we will all miss you! RIP’

A lovely personal tribute to a man who very much transcended the world of sport. Kobe Bryant and Gianna are survived by his wife Vanessa as well as his three other daughters Natalia (17), Bianka (3) and Capri who was born in June 2019.

(header pic: Robbie Keane on Instagram)