AC Milan to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant ahead of cup game

MILAN (AP) The AC Milan soccer team will wear black armbands and observe a minute’s silence during an Italian Cup game on Tuesday in memory of devout fan Kobe Bryant.

[ MORE: Neymar leads tributes to Kobe ]

The seven-time European champions host Torino in the quarterfinals at the San Siro.

Bryant, an 18-time NBA All-Star with the Los Angeles Lakers and a lifelong soccer fan, died Sunday with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, California. He was 41.

Bryant grew up in Italy between the ages of 6 and 13 while his father, Joe Bryant, played basketball in the country.

Milan tweeted an interview with Bryant when he visited the club’s training facility a few years ago.

“Watching (Ruud) Gullit, (Frank) Rijkaard, (Marco) Van Basten and (Paolo) Maldini was always a dream for me,” Bryant said in Italian, wearing a Milan jersey. “It’s always been my favorite squad. Back in Los Angeles I have an AC Milan shirt and scarf inside my locker and I see them every day.”

Milan obtained special clearance for the tribute from the Italian league.

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