Kobe Bryant will be honored at the Super Bowl after his tragic death in a helicopter crash Sunday alongside 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other victims, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell revealed during Wednesday's pre-game press conference.
"I don't think just Los Angeles is mourning the loss of Kobe Bryant," Goodell began, adding that he would be honored alongside the NFL's Hall of Fame defensive end Chris Doleman, who passed away at 58 Wednesday after a battle with cancer and whom he "personally was very fond of and meant a great deal to me and the league."
"I think both of those individuals will be seen on Sunday in some fashion in a respectful way," Goodell said of the upcoming tribute.
Goodell also opened up about his personal memories of Bryant, saying, "I did have the opportunity to meet him. He obviously brought a lot to our world and I think all of us not only feel for the tragic events to his family but as well as everyone else who was a passenger on that helicopter." Aside from the Bryants, victims John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Sarah Chester, Payton Chester, Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan were all also killed in the tragic crash.
"It's hard to understand and it's hard to process," Goodell said of grieving the loss, adding he was "proud" of "the way our players, the way our league responded, including a moment of silence during the [Pro Bowl] game, put his picture up and the way the fans responded to that."
"We did that again on Monday night," he added. "So, we as a league have been very responsive and I think respectful of somebody who contributed so much to sports."
Bryant's former teammate, Shaquille O'Neal, will also be honoring his friend during Shaq's Funhouse Super Bowl Party, he announced Wednesday, with the proceeds being donated to the families of the crash victims as well as the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Foundation.
"Been going back and forth the past couple of days on if I should even have my event in Miami this weekend. Part of me wanted to stay to myself as I reflect what my brother and his family mean to me and my family," O'Neal wrote on Twitter. "Kobe would want us to push through and celebrate life. So lets do just that."
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