Two weeks later and it’s still very hard to take in the events that unfolded on January 26.
A helicopter crash took the lives of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, along with seven others as they were travelling to her basketball game.
As promised by UFC president Dana White earlier this week, UFC 247 would be opened with a tribute to Kobe and the eight others involved in the crash.
This was to be the case as the crowd at the Toyota Center were brought to the attention of the big screens above the Octagon by the arena’s announcer.
As an image of Kobe and his daughter Gianna appeared, along with the names of the victims involved in the crash, the Octagon was lit up in yellow and purple lights to signify the Los Angeles Lakers, who Kobe spent his entire NBA career playing for.
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“Kobe was a basketball legend and a hero to millions. He was a media star and a successful entrepreneur. He was a business partner of the UFC and an advocate for our sport and its athletes, perhaps more importantly, though, he was a devoted family man, adoring husband, a father of four.”
Kobe had a close relationship with UFC as an investor to the company and was a massive fan of mixed martial arts.
White also revealed that Kobe had been ‘pumped’ just days before the crash as he was set to benefit from UFC’s record financial year.
The tribute ended with the announcer asking those in attendance to all participate in a nine-second silence to honour the nine lives lost in the crash.
The audience fell silent and had a short time to reflect on Kobe’s impact on not just basketball, but sport as a whole.
After the nine seconds passed, the arena erupted into chants for Kobe, showing their appreciation for the legend.News Now - Sport News