Colin Kaepernick, the former N.F.L. quarterback whose kneeling during the national anthem in protest of racism and police brutality inspired a number of athletes to speak out publicly, said on Twitter that he would remember Bryant as a “basketball legend, a father & a man.”
The Italian Basketball Federation said on Monday that it would hold a moment of silence in every game this week for Bryant, who lived in Italy from ages 6 to 13 while his father played professional basketball there.
Bryant was fluent in Italian, and once said it would be a “dream” to play for the country, but in 2011, when an Italian team, Virtus Bologna, offered him a one-year contract during the N.B.A. lockout, the deal fell through, The Associated Press reported.
“It’s a small but heartfelt and deserved gesture to honor the life and memory of Kobe Bryant, an absolute champion who always had Italy in his heart,” the federation said in a statement. Bryant, the statement said, “was and will always be linked to our country.”
The Los Angeles County sheriff rebukes a news outlet over coverage of the death
Hundreds of Bryant fans gathered near the site of the helicopter crash to mourn his death on Sunday afternoon, after it had been reported for hours by major news outlets and circulated widely on social media.
But around 5 p.m., when it came time for the sheriff of Los Angeles County, Alex Villanueva, to give an official update on an investigation, he declined to say whether Bryant was one of the victims, saying the victims’ families should be notified first.
And he offered a pointed rebuke to the news organization that broke the news. “It would be extremely disrespectful to understand your loved one has perished and you learn about it from TMZ,” he said. “That is just wholly inappropriate so we are not going to be going there. We are going to wait until the coroner does their job.”
TMZ did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The news media also drew criticism on Sunday after inaccurate reports circulated that four of Bryant’s children were killed in the crash, and a reporter for ABC News apologized for the report.
Reporting was contributed by Alan Blinder, Kevin Draper, Elena Bergeron, Jennifer Medina, Neil Vigdor, Marc Stein, Louis Keene, Jill Cowan, Miriam Jordan, Mihir Zaveri, Jon Hurdle, Rachel Abrams, Benjamin Hoffman, Jonah Engel Bromwich and Daniel Victor.