Following the death of Kobe Bryant, Ben Affleck has addressed whether or not the No. 24 jersey featured in his new movie, The Way Back was meant to pay tribute to the basketball legend. When asked about the possible reference by film journalist Kevin McCarthy, Affleck replied while it might seem like in light of the tragic events, there's a lot more behind the reasoning.
"I don't think it was a specific homage to Kobe, although I did know Kobe, and he was a lovely guy, and it's a terrible tragedy," Affleck said. "Guys like Kobe get a number, the number gets popular."
“He didn’t necessarily feel like he fit into the predominant basketball culture...from Italy, he had different..cultural references...It just goes to show you we all have something that’s kind of in our way.”February 21, 2020
Bryant passed away in a tragic helicopter crash on Jan. 26, along with his 13-year-old daughter, the aircraft's pilot, and six other passengers.
Affleck previously memorialized the late NBA icon, by taking to Twitter and expressing how sorrowful he was over the news of the crash claiming so many lives.
My thoughts and prayers are with Kobe Bryant’s family, and the families of all those involved. Today reminds us just how short and precious life is, and a reason to be grateful and celebrate life while we can. Rest In Peace Mamba.— Ben Affleck (@BenAffleck) January 27, 2020
Many of Affleck's fans and followers began replying to his heartfelt message by sharing words of sympathy as well.
"Thank you for remembering the other families who died in the crash, while I understand Kobe Bryant was a legend! The other families lost someone too. So again thank you Mr. Affleck," commented one user.
"This is coming from a die hard bahstonian Ben, cuddos my friend Kobe is respected from west to east, east to west," tweeted another fan.
Not a big fan of basketball anymore, but what is most impressive to me about this young man's short life.
a) Battling through celebrity. It must be difficult.
b) His work with lending children a hand, motivation and support.
He seemed well connected to his child-self. Love.— RCArmstrong (@armstrong_rc) January 27, 2020
"Well said !!! Very thoughtful!! I’m so sad for his wife and daughters...sad for the other families that lost someone in the crash as well. -Off topic, but I hope you’ll do more Comic Cons !! Blessings," tweeted one last user.