As the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs prepare for the Super Bowl, they do so with heavy hearts.
On Sunday (January 26), a helicopter carrying retired NBA player Kobe Bryant and eight other passengers crashed in Calabasas, California. One of the passengers was Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
Everyone on the helicopter was killed in the crash.
Later that same day, music’s brightest stars gathered for the annual Grammy Awards. The usually celebratory night carried a somber air, especially since it was held in the STAPLES Center.
Los Angeles’ basketball team, the Lakers, play at the STAPLES Center, and Kobe played for the Lakers for 20 seasons.
Grammys host Alicia Keys opened the show with a tribute to Kobe, opting to say a few words before singing with Boyz II Men in his honor.
Although Kobe was an NBA star, his death had an effect on athletes of all kinds. Prior to the Grammys, but also on the 26th, the NFL hosted its annual Pro Bowl.
The game kicked off shortly after news of Kobe’s death broke. Everything stopped so the players and attendees could honor him with a moment of silence.
Now, as the NFL prepares for the Super Bowl, they’re also thinking of remembering Kobe then as well.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell spoke during a press conference on Wednesday (January 29), during which he was asked about any plans to pay tribute to Kobe. He first addressed the ways they already honored him:
“I’m proud of…the way our players, the way our league, responded…including a moment of silence during the game, with Kobe’s picture up — and the way our fans responded. “And we did that again on Monday night.”
He then spoke about the death of former Minnesota Vikings defensive end and Pro Football Hall of Famer Chris Doleman. Chris passed away on Tuesday (January 28) following a battle with cancer.
150.5 career sacks
We lost one of the game's greats. https://t.co/yrk8gms98g
— Minnesota Vikings (@Vikings) January 29, 2020
Roger thinks the NFL will take time to remember both Kobe and Chris during the Big Game on Sunday:
“We also lost one of our own legends last night, Chris Doleman, last night,” Roger said. “I personally was very fond of him, and he meant a great deal to me and the league in general. So I think both of those individuals will be seen on Sunday.”
He didn’t offer any further details about the NFL’s plans to pay tribute to the two sports legends. But we have a feeling no matter what they plan, it will surely be emotional to watch.
Our hearts and prayers go out to Chris Doleman’s family, Kobe Bryant’s family, and the families of all who lost their lives in the helicopter crash on January 26.