AC Milan’s desire to honour Kobe Bryant in their Coppa Italia game against Torino on Tuesday evening has been rejected by Italian football’s governing bodies, according to Goal.
The Serie A giants wanted to pay homage to the NBA legend, who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday, by wearing black armbands.
Their request has been denied by the Lega Calcio - but Goal’s report claims AC Milan plan to wear black armbands anyway, even without approval.
Bryant, who spent more than seven years of his childhood in Italy, was a huge AC Milan supporter.
When he met with Thierry Henry in 2016, the American revealed that his favourite player growing up was Marco van Basten.
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"I was right there with Van Basten, [Frank] Rijkaard, [Ruud] Gullit, [Paolo] Maldini was just getting started and we had [Franco] Baresi. That was my team."
Bryant spent 20 years playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, where he became a five-time NBA champion, but it was in Italy where he learned the fundamentals of the game after moving there when he was six years old.
Bryant’s father moved to Italy to play professional basketball and his son picked up the sport, learning the basics with a kids’ basketball team.
“Passing, screening, moving off the ball, shooting. All the basics,” Bryant told online basketball publication SLAM last September.
“And if we did scrimmage, we’d scrimmage full court, no dribbles allowed.
“So that set the foundation for me for how I came to understand the game, and how I now teach the game.”
Italian basketball team Pallacanestro Reggiano dedicated a post on their Facebook page to Bryant.
Bryant’s father Joe played for the team for two seasons after moving to Italy, while Kobe played on their youth team.
“Forever one of us,” the Facebook post read, accompanied with images of Bryant with his father and in his uniform with his youth team.News Now - Sport News