MIAMI (NEXSTAR) – As the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers kick off the events surrounding the big game at the Super Bowl’s Opening Night, there’s a certain sadness in South Beach as the sports world mourns the death of Kobe Bryant.
“It was just devastating,” said former NFL linebacker Lofa Tatupu. “He just kept going, just kept going, that’s the mamba mentality, he didn’t back down from anything.”
Anyone you talked to agreed: Bryant was a transcendent athlete and global superstar.
“Just the little moments when you saw and he’s teaching her (his daughter) about the game. Whether it was sitting court side or in their home gym, and he was working with them,” said former NFL player Danny Kanell.
Along NFL’s Radio Row, even international broadcasters were hit hard by the news.
“It was interesting to be over here for it,” said Matthew Sherry, UK NFL Broadcaster. “I’ve heard people compare it to when Princess Diana died in England.”
Everyone agrees the mood certainly changed in Miami. While the kickoff of Super Bowl week is usually festive in nature, there’s a sadness as people reflect on Bryant’s life.
Spectators observed a moment of silence for Bryant before Opening Night festivities in Miami. It’s a theme expected to continue in the days leading up to Sunday’s Super Bowl.