Italian side AC Milan have announced they will wear special armbands in commemoration of departed NBA legend Kobe Bryant when they face Torino in the Coppa Italia semi-final tonight.
Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others perished after his private helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California on Sunday morning.
The group was headed to Thousand Oaks for a basketball game where Gianna was expected to play.
“In agreement with Serie A, during tonight's game AC Milan will wear the black armband in memory of the Basketball Legend and great Rossoneri fan Kobe Bryant…A moment of silence will also be observed at San Siro just minutes before kick-off,” said AC Milan on their website.
In accordo con la @SerieA, stasera indosseremo il lutto al braccio in memoria di Kobe Bryant, scomparso in un tragico incidente aereo insieme alla figlia Gianna Maria e altre 7 vittime. San Siro osserverà un momento di raccoglimento a ridosso del fischio di inizio. #SempreKobe pic.twitter.com/veeDCXShUu
— AC Milan (@acmilan) January 28, 2020
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The NBA star was a die-hard AC Milan fan and had a passion for soccer, having grown up in Italy.
In 2013, Bryant visited the AC Milan training facility, the Milanello Sports Centre, met some players and even took pictures with the iconic red and black-stripped jersey.
Speaking to the media in Italian after his visit, Bryant confessed of his love for the club since he was a child:
“I have been an AC Milan supporter since I was a boy. Being here is a great honour for me. Whe I was young, watching Gullit, Van Basten and Maldini it was like a dream for me. AC Milan has always been my favourite side.
It always has a special place in my heart. Back in LA I have a Milan scarf and shirt hanging up in my locker room and I see them everyday,” said Bryant.
The Rossoneri beat SPAL 3-0 in the quarter final to qualify and will be hoping to go one step further with the addition of Zlatan Ibrahimovic to their squad.