Paris, January 27: Brazilian international Neymar paid a tribute to late NBA legend Kobe Bryant in his second goal celebration in Paris Saint-Germain's French Ligue 1 away game against Lille.
Bryant, 41, was killed in a helicopter crash in Southern California on Sunday morning. His 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant was also on board. Kobe Bryant’s Death in Helicopter Crash Was Predicted 7 Years Ago! Fan’s 2012 Tweet Foreseeing the Basketball Player’s Untimely Death Goes Viral.
PSG was awarded a penalty early in the second half for a handball from Lille's left-back Reinildo Mandava. The 27-year-old striker converted it and ran to the cameras while holding up two and four fingers on his hands in honour of Bryant's jersey number in the Los Angles Lakers, reports Xinhua news agency.
"I went to see the messages on social media at halftime, I saw that Kobe is dead. It is a great sadness for the world of sport, and for all of us," Neymar told French TV channel Canal Plus after the game.
Neymar throws up the 24 for Kobe 💜 pic.twitter.com/mPUveZpNA2
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) January 26, 2020
"I knew him and I did this celebration to pay tribute to him. And I hope he will rest in peace."
Neymar opened the scoring for the Ligue 1 defending champions 28 minutes into the game at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy. It was his 13th goal in Ligue 1 of this season, the same as his teammate Kylian Mbappe.
The win also saw PSG stretch their lead in the league table to 10 points as the second-placed Marseille were held to a 0-0 draw by Angers on Saturday.