Israel Adesanya is one of many top MMA fighters to pay tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant, who passed away in a helicopter crash on Sunday.
Adesanya shared his thoughts on Bryant in a video from EMG Access on YouTube.
“I don’t follow basketball, I just follow greatness, and just watching the way he played the game, watching the way he conducted himself, watching the way people spoke about him,” Adesanya said (transcript via MMA Junkie). “Give an example – Jacie, who’s worked with him in the past, the way she always spoke highly of him, … she was like, ‘You and Kobe are so similar; you guys would get along.’ I mean, I took it with a grain of salt, but at the same time, I felt cool that she would even put me in that same bracket because she’s worked so closely with him.”
“So, like I said, I don’t follow basketball, I just follow greatness, and I’m following suit,” Adesanya continued. “His ‘Mamba Mentality’ is worldwide. It’s something that’s always going to be around and live forever. When I finish this (bottle) and I shoot it in the trash can, what name am I going to yell? ‘Kobe.’ That’s never going to die now, and it’s going to hit different now because of the way things are but yeah, it’ll never die.
“Legends never die. It’ll carry on forever,” Adesanya concluded.
As aforementioned, several other MMA stars have also payed tribute to the late, great Kobe Bryant in their own ways, including Adesanya’s fellow Paradigm fighter Conor McGregor.
With the sports world still reeling from the death of the NBA legend, we can expect more celebrities from all walks of life to offer their thoughts on him in the coming days. Like Adesanya says, Mamba Mentality is worldwide.
Israel Adesanya is set to return to the cage at UFC 248, when he’ll attempt to defend the UFC middleweight belt against Yoel Romero.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 1/29/2020.