COLORADO, USA — Famous star athletes tend to hang out in the same stratosphere as other star athletes.
They understand the pressures of fame, share many of the same privileges and frustrations. It’s not surprising then that Peyton Manning and Kobe Bryant got to know each other in recent years.
Manning is arguably the No. 1 football star of the past two decades, one whose humorous, folksy personality has transcendent his sport into nationwide popularity through endorsements.
Outside the United States, basketball is bigger than football. Bryant was the No. 1 basketball player to the generation between Michael Jordan and LeBron James, a star who soared to global proportions.
When Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash Sunday morning, Manning paid tribute to his friend later that day.
“I am incredibly saddened by the tragic news of Kobe Bryant’s passing,’’ Manning said in a statement. “I always appreciated Kobe’s talent, work-ethic and competitiveness. Most of all, I appreciated his friendship. He was a friend and we worked together recently on several projects. I was honored to be asked by Kobe to be part of his Detail show and really enjoyed our interactions over the years."
"We retired at the same time and had to make that transition together," said Manning. "I am so shocked and saddened. My prayers are with the Bryant family and the families of everyone involved. I will miss Kobe very much just like so many will. It’s just an incredibly sad day."
Manning retired as a quarterback after the Broncos’ Super Bowl triumphant in February 2016. Bryant played his last basketball game two months later.
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