Justin Timberlake has joined the famous friends and fans of Kobe Bryant who have paid tribute to the basketball legend following his death on Sunday.
The retired sportsman and his teenage daughter were among nine people who died in a helicopter crash in California, which overshadowed the Grammy Awards hours later, and stars like Selena Gomez, Kanye West, Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift have already offered up their thoughts about the tragedy.
Now, Bryant’s friend Timberlake has issued a lengthy statement via Instagram, together with a series of photos of himself with Kobe.
“We met when we were both teenagers and bonded over our drive and process,” Justin writes. “I was in awe of what you could do with a basketball and knew your talent went beyond your physical gifts and stretched to your mentality. A mentality that I would take with me throughout my whole career and still use every day.
“As the years went by, I watched you do things that seemed humanly unimaginable. And, through ups and downs, championships and injuries, you still remained with an unwavering resolve about your mentality to remain fierce to competition.”
But the Cry Me a River singer reveals it was Kobe’s role as the father of four daughters that made him special.
“The last conversation that we shared was about being fathers and what that meant,” he added. “That was, beyond all the things that we could do in this world, our true legacy. Who our children are and what beautiful people they will become. And, I guess right now, without being able to find all the words, THAT father connection is what is most devastating for me.”