Kobe Bryant Grew Up in Italy — Where a Heartwarming, Week-long Tribute Is Planned (Video)
Following the sudden death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, the basketball superstar's hometown in Italy is paying tribute with a whole week of mourning.
Some fans may not know it, but although Bryant was born in Philadelphia, he grew up partially in Rieti, in the Lazio region of Italy, and spoke fluent Italian, according to CNN. His father moved the entire family there after retiring from his own basketball career. There, he played in local teams as a child, CNN reported.
Upon hearing about his and his daughter’s death, the Italian Basketball Federation decided to implement a mourning period of seven days for the player.
“We are shocked and saddened by what happened to him and his daughter, Gianna, and we hold his family close to our hearts in this moment of sorrow,” said Giovanni Petrucci, president of the Italian Basketball Federation, to CNN.
The Italian Basketball Federation also told CNN that every professional team in Italy will have a moment of silence before each game for seven days in honor of Bryant. Petrucci said it was a “small gesture to honor Kobe's memory.”
Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, along with some other passengers, died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday, Jan. 26. It is unclear how the crash occurred, but an investigation is focusing on weather conditions and mechanical problems as the main contributors. It’s possible that this high-profile accident may result in changes around flight operation and safety rules for private helicopters.
Bryant is survived by his wife, Vanessa, and their daughters, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.
Many fans and celebrities have been pouring out their condolences online for Bryant’s family, including former president Barack Obama, basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, singer Alicia Keys (who made a touching tribute at the Grammys on Sunday night), and dozens more, according to USA Today.