Pau Gasol mourns Kobe Bryant: 'Beyond devastated... my big brother... I can't believe it'
Catalonia's top sportspeople join global tribute to NBA superstar Kobe Bryant soon after his sudden death
Kobe Bryant's sudden death in a helicopter accident on Sunday shocked the world of sport, which began to mourn the late NBA legend on social media shortly afterwards.
Catalonia's most international sports superstars joined the global tributes to Bryant, and especially those from the world of basketball.
Pau Gasol, who played with Bryant in the Los Angeles Lakers for six seasons (2008-2014), when they won two NBA titles together, tweeted: "Beyond devastated... my big brother... I can’t, I just can’t believe it."
They remained close friends even after the Catalan center left Los Angeles in 2014.
Beyond devastated... my big brother... I can’t, I just can’t believe it— Pau Gasol (@paugasol) January 26, 2020
No desire to play NBA game anyway
Pau's brother, Marc, who plays for the Toronto Raptors, learnt about Bryant's death after playing a game on Sunday. "We're in shock," said Gasol, “you think about his family and his friends and the situation they are going through.” Marc Gasol said the NBA games held after Bryant's death on Sunday should not have been played.
Meanwhile, Ricky Rubio, of the Phoenix Suns, said "we didn't have much desire to play the game we played tonight. Many of us carry a piece of Kobe Bryant inside."
Retired basketballer and now coach, Alex Mumbrú, referred to Bryant as an "eternal legend" on Twitter.
"Life is much more than basketball, RIP Mamba," said Catalan international female basketballer Sílvia Domínguez.
One of Catalonia's basketball legends in the 1990s, Jordi Villacampa, also reflected on Bryant's legacy: "When Michael Jordan retired, Kobe Bryant was the referent the NBA needed. I am in shock at the news. Rest in peace."
Talking to Catalunya Ràdio station, popular female basketball coach Carme Lluveras also remembered the NBA legend: "Kobe Bryant also supported the female competition and that made him very big."
Top Catalan basketball teams
Catalonia's top basketball teams also mourned Bryant, including FC Barcelona: "Shocked by the death of Kobe Bryant, an exemplary athlete both on and off the basketball court. Our most heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones. Rest in peace."
"Today it is a very sad day. Thanks for all that you have done for basketball, Kobe. Rest in peace," tweeted Club Joventut Badalona.
"Without words, rest in peace," was one comment that Bàsquet Manresa posted on Twitter.
Female basketball team Cadí La Seu d'Urgell also paid tribute to the 17-time NBA All-Star: "There is no little detail from basketball today that is not directly or indirectly related to this legend. Rest in peace, Kobe Bryant, thank you so much for all you have contributed to the world of basketball."
Bryant's relationship with FC Barcelona and its football players
While playing for the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol once played a friendly with FC Barcelona in the Catalan capital, which ended in victory for the Catalans (92-88).
Also, Bryant had visited FC Barcelona football players during their training sessions more than once, both in the Catalan capital and in the US during some summer camps.
Among others, he met Gerard Piqué, who also reacted to the news on Sunday via Twitter: "Rest in peace, Mamba." The Catalan defender also shared a picture of himself with the late NBA star.
Retired FC Barcelona football player, Carles Puyol, also shared a picture with him on Instagram with a message of support: "I still can’t believe it. All my support to the family."
Rest in Peace, Mamba. pic.twitter.com/BgcDnXLCyZ— Gerard Piqué (@3gerardpique) January 26, 2020
Retired FC Barcelona football player Carles Puyol also shared a picture with him on Instagram with a message of support: "I still can’t believe it. All my support to the family."
Other Catalan sports stars
Marc Márquez, the six-time MotoGP champion, said Bryant's legacy "has gone beyond basketball."