Neymar dedicates PSG goal to Kobe Bryant

Paris Saint Germain players, Marco Verratti, Kylian Mbappe, Neymar Jr and Thiago Silva assist at the NBA basketball game between the Charlotte Hornets and the Milwaukee Bucks at AccorHotels Arena, in Paris, France, 24 January 2020. EPA-EFE/JULIEN DE ROSA

Neymar dedicated his second goal in Paris Saint-Germain’s 2-0 win at Lille on Sunday to basketball legend Kobe Bryant, whose death on Sunday in a helicopter crash shocked the world.

The Brazilian slotted home the 52nd-minute penalty that put PSG two goals up in the French Ligue 1 clash and went over to the television cameras by the side of the Stade Pierre Mauro pitch to make the number 24 with his fingers in honour of Bryant’s shirt number.

“It’s deeply saddening for the world of sport and for all of us,” said Neymar to Canal+ after the win, which put PSG 10 points clear at the top of the league.

“Not just for basketball fans, but for everything he did for sport.”

Bryant, who had been nominated for the NBA Hall of Fame in December, was confirmed dead at 41 years old on Sunday after a helicopter crashed and burst into flames in foggy conditions in suburban Los Angeles, leaving five people dead.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials said there were no survivors from the morning crash on a rugged hillside in Calabasas, west of LA.

In an email to AFP, Mayor of Calabasas Alicia Weintraub confirmed Bryant was among the victims.

“Yes, it is confirmed,” Weintraub wrote.

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