KEY POINTS

  • Neymar dedicates his latest goal to Kobe Bryant
  • Neymar was also a basketball and Bryant fan
  • Bryant talked about Lionel Messi in one of his last interviews

Brazilian soccer star Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior honored Kobe Bryant by holding up the number 24 after scoring a goal.

Bryant’s impact in sports doesn’t end in basketball. In fact, some of the biggest names in soccer were great fans of “Black Mamba.”

Following his tragic death caused by a sudden helicopter crash, Paris St-Germain superstar Neymar dedicated his latest goal to the late NBA legend. Neymar, who is apparently a solid Bryant fan, paid tribute to the Lakers with a goal celebration in Paris St-Germain's win at Lille. Neymar gave PSG the lead with a 20-yard curling effort in the first half. And After scoring a second-half penalty, he held up two fingers on one hand and four on the other, honoring Bryant's Los Angeles Lakers jersey number 24, BBC Sport reported.

Neymar even bowed in from of the audience and pointed his finger up in the sky as he pays homage to the legendary athlete.

The Brazilian star has been a basketball fan and had personally met Bryant in the past. He also wrote an Instagram post after the game calling the 41-year-old NBA icon a “legend.”

Aside from Neymar, Bryant has also developed a good relationship with Argentine soccer icon Lionel Messi. The five-time NBA champ first met Messi through another Brazilian star Ronaldinho.

Messi and Bryant even teamed up for an advert by Turkish Airlines which was hailed by YouTube as “the ad of the decade,” The said recognition was part of the video website’s 10th anniversary celebrations.

In one of his final interviews before he died, Bryant talked about Messi and how he is way ahead of his peers in soccer. According to Bryant, Messi’s “tenacity and skills” are what makes him one of the greatest athletes of all time.

“Well, I think he’s one of the best athletes of all time. The tenacity, the intelligence with which he plays as well as skill puts him head and shoulder above the rest,” Bryant said about Messi.

kobe Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) looks Wednesday night on after the Lakers defeat of the Utah Jazz 101-96 at Staples Center in Bryant's final game of his career. Bryant scored 60 points in the game. Photo: Robert Hanashiro/USA Today Sports/Reuters

Both Neymar and Messi personally knew Bryant especially during his playing years. And one thing Bryant, Messi and Neymar have in common is legacy. Now that Bryant already passed away, both basketball and soccer indeed lost another legend.

Throughout his Hall of Fame career, Bryant won five NBA titles in which he won two NBA Finals MVP honors. He was also an 18-time NBA All-Star but he was mostly remembered by his fans as the closest thing to Michael Jordan.

Luis Suarez, Neymar, Lionel Messi Luis Suárez, Neymar and Lionel Messi have formed a potent attacking trio at Barcelona. Photo: Getty Images