‘He helped me become interested in basketball’: Lionel Messi hails outgoing Kobe Bryant

'Kobe Bryant will always be in the history books as one of the greatest' wrote Lionel Messi to his Facebook page in tribute of outgoing NBA star Kobe Bryant.

Four-time World Player of the Year Lionel Messi has spoken of his admiration for retiring NBA legend Kobe Bryant after a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bryant announced his decision to retire at the end of the season earlier this week having won five NBA titles and two Olympic gold medals in a hugely succesful career.

Read more: Jonathan Raymond on Kobe Bryant fading out of the game, and with him an era inspired by Michael Jordan

“It’s always sad to hear when a sportsman is retiring. But Kobe Bryant will always be in the history books as one of the greatest,” Barcelona superstar Messi wrote on his official Facebook page.

“It was he who helped me become interested in basketball. All the best in the next stage of your life, Kobe.”

Messi and Bryant starred together in a commercial for Turkish Airlines in 2013 that was named “Ad of the Decade” by YouTube earlier this year.

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Published: December 3, 2015 04:00 AM