Over the weekend, the world was devastated by the tragic death of the NBA legend, who died Saturday morning (January 26) in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. Among the throng of bereaved family members and fans included none other than Swift, who revealed her particularly special friendship with the all-star athlete in a heartfelt tribute in Bryant’s honor.
"Kobe meant so much to me and to us all," the “You Need to Calm Down” singer tweeted hours after in dedication to the 41-year-old, who was killed along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, and seven other passengers aboard the copter that crashed in Los Angeles. "Sending my prayers, love, and endless condolences to Vanessa and the family and anyone who lost someone on that flight."
The story of Bryant and Swift’s bond dates back to 2015, which proved to be a significant year for the pair. At the time, the “Delicate” musician was celebrating her 16th performance at the Staples Center — the home court to Bryant’s Los Angeles Lakers — where the baller would surprise the pop star the following year with a championship banner for setting the record for the most sold-out shows by an artist.
“When the most important records are set here at STAPLES Center, we at the Lakers and the LA Kings have a tradition, we raise a banner,” Bryant said during the presentation. “On behalf of STAPLES Center, AEG and all of your fans in Los Angeles it is out honor to unveil for the first time, your own championship banner that will be permanently hung here as a tribute to you and your unbelievable record.”
To make the moment even sweeter, Bryant, a longtime Swiftie, followed the sentiment with a shoutout to his friend on Instagram, writing, “Friends hang from time to time but banners hang forever.”
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