AC Milan players will wear armbands to honour late basketball legend, Kobe Bryant, on Tuesday Coppa Italia game against Torino despite being denied approval by the Italian football governing bodies.
Bryant, 41, died in a helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others in California on Sunday.
The basketball legend who spent more than seven years of his childhood in Italy, was a huge AC Milan fan.
“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 also revealed to Thierry Henry whom he met in 2016 that his favorite player growing up was Marco van Basten.
Bryant’s father had moved to Italy to play professional basketball and his son picked up the sport, learning the basics with a kids’ basketball team before moving to Los Angeles Lakers, where he became a five-time NBA champion during his 20 year career.
“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, whom his father Joe played for for two seasons, dedicated a post on their Facebook page to Bryant.
“Forever one of us,” the Facebook post read, accompanied with images of Bryant with his father and in his uniform with his youth team.