Kobe Bryant honoured ahead of AC Milan's Coppa Italia match

AC Milan honor lifelong fan Kobe Bryant before match (0:59)

AC Milan pay their respects to Kobe Bryant, who was an avid fan of the Rossoneri, in a pre-match ceremony. (0:59)

AC Milan players and fans paid tribute to NBA basketball legend Kobe Bryant ahead of their Coppa Italia win over Torino on Tuesday at the San Siro.

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The team had black armbands and fans in the stands wore Los Angeles Lakers jerseys bearing his number as they observed a minute's silence for Bryant, who was tragically killed in a helicopter crash with his 13-year-old daughter and seven others on Sunday near Calabasas, California. He was 41.

Bryant, an 18-time NBA All-Star with the Lakers and a lifelong soccer and AC Milan fan, grew up in Italy between the ages of six and 13 while his father Joe played basketball in the country.


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Milan tweeted an interview with Bryant when he visited the club's training facility a few years ago.

"Watching [Ruud] Gullit, [Frank] Rijkaard, [Marco] Van Basten and [Paolo] Maldini was always a dream for me," Bryant said in Italian, wearing a Milan jersey. "It's always been my favorite squad. Back in Los Angeles I have an AC Milan shirt and scarf inside my locker and I see them every day."

Milan obtained special clearance for the tribute from the Italian league.

Torino tweeted that it would "emotionally" stand by Milan's side during the tribute "in memory of this sports legend."

A brace from Hakan Calhanoglu and a goal from former LA Galaxy star Zlatan Ibrahimovic ensured Milan's 4-2 win and passage to the tournament's semifinals.