X Games Aspen athletes, Bazzi pay tribute to late basketball star Kobe Bryant | AspenTimes.com

X Games Aspen athletes, Bazzi pay tribute to late basketball star Kobe Bryant

Staff report

After the news of Kobe Bryant’s death spread across the sports world, some of those connected to X Games Aspen paid their respects to the Los Angeles Lakers star who died Sunday in a helicopter crash.

Before his first run, Australian snowbike racer Jackson Strong stood up over his bike. He pulled at the gold-and-purple Bryant jersey he was wearing for the finals. The crowd gave a loud cheer.

Strong, 28, won bronze Sunday night and afterward said he latched onto the Lakers and Bryant through X Games competitions at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

“If I put on an American accent ever at home I’d say ‘Kobe Bryant from the Lakers.’ That’s as American as I can get,” Strong said. “It’s very unfortunate, very sad. When something like this happens in the athletic world, it’s good to have everyone stick together. It’s important.”

ESPN moved its X Games programming through the day. The announcement came while there was four-hour break in the competition schedule and just before the final concert of the X Games Aspen weekend.

Los Angeles-based singer Bazzi paid tribute to Bryant early in his Sunday afternoon set on the X Games music stage. He said the NBA legend was a hero to him growing up.

“I want you all to remember how lucky we all are to be at the X Games in Aspen right now alive and healthy,” he told the crowd at the Buttermilk venue. “Let’s make some noise for Kobe Bryant.”

ESPN’s X Games announcers posted on social media and came on to pay their respects to the Bryant family and added, “We’re going to continue our competition in honor of his spirit and his love of sports.”


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