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Neymar: Kobe Bryant death deeply affected me

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USMNT fans pay tribute to Kobe Bryant in 24th minute (0:27)

Fans honor Kobe Bryant during the 24th minute of the USMNT's match vs. Costa Rica just outside Los Angeles. (0:27)

Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar has said that he was deeply affected by the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant in January.

Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among nine people who died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Jan. 26. Bryant was 41.

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Neymar paid homage to Bryant by flashing his former jersey number "24" with his fingers following his second goal during a 2-0 win over Lille on the night of the incident. He also put his hands together in prayer, pointing to the sky.

"His death affected me a lot because our lives had much in common," Neymar told Vogue Men Arabia.

"I met Kobe personally and the times he came to Paris. When you meet the person behind the athlete, it creates a different relationship and with Kobe, it was very special. Sports and society lost a great guy."

The world of football was quick to pay respect to Bryant shortly after his death. The five-time NBA champion spent part of his childhood in Milan, Italy and became a lifelong supporter of AC Milan.

Bryant was posthumously inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday, honouring a trophy-laden 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers where he wore now-retired Nos. 8 and 24. He also won two Olympic gold medals playing for the United States.