The entire world has been left speechless by the tragic news of former LA Lakers players Kobe Bryant’s passing. The “black mamba”, as he was known, took his 13-year-old daughter Gianna for basketball training using the family helicopter when for issues not yet determined, the vehicle crashed. Alongside the two, were another seven people, making for a total of nine fatalities. The incident took place in the Calabasas area, in California, where the Bryant family resides.

News of Bryant’s passing spread like wildfire through the online community, with the US media outlet TMZ being the first to break the news. In fact, the station was accused of being insensitive, as they released the story before the rest of Bryant’s family members could be officially informed of the incident. Many well-known celebrities and members of the community have expressed feelings of shock and sadness at the sound of Bryant’s loss.

Kobe Bryant and his family were known for their love of Greece as they had visited Athens and the islands many times in the past. During one of his visits in the Greek capital for the Nike Athens Tour back in 2011, the LA Lakers legend spoke highly of life in the country: “It’s so peaceful here. It was a calm two days. The people here are very warm and passionate. I should have been coming here for years. I will come back here for sure from now on.”

Bryant also held many Greek athletes, such as Vasilis Spanoulis, Dimitris Diamantidis and Giannis Antetokounmpo in the highest regard. He expressed the opinion that Spanoulis should return to the NBA after the latter had left the Houston Rockets to come back to Europe.

After meeting the “Greek Freak” in a marketing event back in 2016, Bryant claimed that he had the physical attributes to become an MVP, but it remained to be seen if his mental state could handle it. He handed a “challenge” to Giannis on 28 August 2017 through his Twitter account, by using three simple letters: “MVP”. When Giannis accomplished this, the now late Bryant congratulated him, issuing the next challenge: to win the championship.

That promise has yet to be fulfilled, but now Antetokounmpo will have yet another reason to strive for the NBA ring.