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Pau and Marc Gasol pay tribute to 'big brother' Kobe Bryant
27 January 2020 @ 13:21

SPAIN'S Pau Gasol has posted a tribute to his 'big brother' Kobe Bryant, saying he is 'beyond devastated' at the NBA ace's death in a helicopter crash last night (Sunday).

Tributes from all over the sporting world in Spain and beyond have been pouring in for the retired Los Angeles Lakers star after he and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were confirmed as having perished along with seven others in Calabasas, California, at around 10.00 local time (19.00 mainland Spain time).

But Pau Gasol who, along with his brother Marc, is Spain's greatest basketball export in history, is particularly affected, since he and Kobe were team-mates with the Lakers.

“Beyond big brother...I can't, I just can't believe it,” wrote Pau on Twitter.

The above photograph shows Pau and Kobe together during a Lakers game.

Marc Gasol, who plays for San Antonio Spurs, heard the news after his match against the Toronto Raptors, and said: “I just want to go home and hug my kids.”

Fellow Lakers player Shaquille O'Neal wrote: “There's [sic] no words to express the pain I'm going through with this tragedy of losing my niece Gigi and my brother Kobe Bryant. I love you and you will be missed. My condolences go[es] out to the Bryant family and the families of the other passengers on board. I'm sick right now.”

Others in the basketball world who reacted on social media include Spain's José Manuel Calderón, who said he 'could not believe it', that 'it hurts so much', and that he 'cried' when he heard about the fatal crash in which the star from Philadelphia – whom Calderón thanked for 'all he had given to basketball' – had lost his life.

Felipe Reyes was up against the 6'3” (1.91m) giant when the Spanish and US national teams played each other, and described being Kobe's rival as 'an honour'.

“Wherever you are now, you'll still always be a legend,” he wrote on Twitter.

Luka Doncic of the Dallas Mavericks, who used to play basketball for Real Madrid, posted a photo of himself with Kobe's daughter Gianna, who also died in the crash.

Spanish president Pedro Sánchez is a basketball fanatic, and paid tribute to Kobe on Twitter: “Tragic news for those of us who love basketball and the NBA. Unbeatable competitor whom we'll always remember making those impossible shots.”



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