Kobe Bryant to be honoured at Super Bowl LIV as world mourns NBA icon's tragic death

Kobe Bryant played his entire 20-year career at LA Lakers before retiring in 2016. [Courtesy]

Kobe Bryant will be honoured on arguably the biggest sports stages of them all - the Super Bowl LIV.

Bryant - the basketball icon who spent his entire 20-year NBA career with the LA Lakers - died aged 41 alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday.

His death led to an outpouring of tributes from around the globe, both from inside and outside the world of sport.

And the much-loved NBA hero will be honoured in Miami this weekend after NFL commissioner Roger Goodell made the announcement while fielding questions from reporters during a pre-Super Bowl press conference.

It's still uncertain what the NFL has planned for the tribute.

Possibilities include the traditional moment of silence, a video montage, or some sort of homage to the jersey numbers - 8 and 24 - that he wore during Kobe's 20-year career with the Lakers.

The 54th edition of the Super Bowl 54 takes place this Sunday, with Kansas City Chiefs going head-to-head with San Francisco 49'ers in Miami, Florida.

Speaking about the colossal loss of such a superstar, Goodell admitted that it's not just LA who is mourning Kobe's loss - it's the entire world.

Gianna Bryant and her father, former NBA player Kobe Bryant. [Courtesy]

"I don't think just Los Angeles is mourning the loss of Kobe Bryant. I did have the opportunity to meet him."

"He obviously brought a lot to our world and I think all of us not only feel for the tragic events to his family but as well as everyone else who was a passenger on that helicopter."

"It's hard to understand and it's hard to process," Goodell continued.

This Super Bowl announcement comes after his widow broke her silence after the loss of her husband and daughter with an emotional outpouring on  Instagram.

The much-loved NBA hero will be honoured in Miami this weekend. [Courtesy]

Vanessa Bryant says she "can't describe the pain right now," but paid thanks to "the millions of people" who have shown their support following her double tragic loss.

Vanessa, 37, posted a heartbreaking photo of herself with Kobe and their family to accompany the powerful message, already liked by 5 million people.

She wrote: "We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe - the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna - a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.

The NBA icon's wife Vanessa Bryant says she "can't describe the pain right now". [Courtesy]

"We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately.

"There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved."

"We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives.

"I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon.

"I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them.

"But we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way.

"Our love for them is endless — and that’s to say, immeasurable.

"I just wish I could hug them, kiss them and bless them. Have them here with us, forever."

General overall view of Hard Rock Stadium prior to Super Bowl LIV. [Courtesy]

Vanessa went on to write that she was thankful for all the messages and reading about the joy that Kobe and Gianna brought to other people's lives.

She continued: "Thank you for sharing your joy, your grief and your support with us. We ask that you grant us the respect and privacy we will need to navigate this new reality."

Vanessa signed off the Instagram post by writing: "Thank you so much for lifting us up in your prayers, and for loving Kobe, Gigi, Natalia, Bianka, Capri and me. #Mamba #Mambacita #GirlsDad #DaddysGirls #Family."

 

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