Snoop Dogg pays tribute to Kobe Bryant: “He was just a great leader and a great role model”

"I looked up to him because he showed me ways on how to be a better person, a better father, a better man"

Snoop Dog has paid tribute to late basketball star Kobe Bryant, describing him as “a great leader and a great role model.”

In an emotive interview alongside Ice Cube on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Snoop, an LA Lakers fan, said he would miss Bryant “dearly” before adding that Bryant’s legacy would inspired young sportspeople and artists in years to come.

Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash on January 26 alongside his daughter, Gianna, and seven others. 

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Snoop said: “The younger generation of basketball players all look up to him. The younger generation rappers all look up to him.”

He continued: “Even a rapper like myself – who was older than him – I looked up to him because he showed me ways on how to be a better person, a better father, a better man, you know, going from that to this.

“He was just a great leader and a great role model, and we going to miss him dearly.”

Ice Cube also paid tribute, adding: “What I loved about Kobe is that he wasn’t just satisfied with god’s given talents. He wanted even to be better that what god gave him…that’s an amazing person.

“…He showed you that you can always take it even further…we loved Kobe’s spirit more than anything.”

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Kobe Bryant Lakers 2015
Kobe Bryant playing for the Lakers in 2015. Credit: Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

Bryant’s passing sparked an outpouring of tributes from the likes of Kanye West, Drake, Matty Healy, Travis Barker and many more.

Beyonce shared a photo of Bryant kissing his daughter’s head while they sat court side at a Los Angeles Lakers game. “I will continue to diligently pray for your Queens,” Beyonce wrote. “You are deeply missed beloved Kobe.”

Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ Flea meanwhile, described the sportsman as “an iconic fixture of the LA landscape.”

“He was someone we all loved,” the bassist said. “He came when he was 17 years old to the Lakers — I met him when he was 17 years old. He came as this arrogant kid, wildly shooting 3s in his first game… but he was always a leader, always bold. As his career went on, he became humbler and kinder and started to learn how to lift up his teammates.

“Then he retires and we watch him evolve even more,” Flea added. “He’s a storyteller: he’s putting out kids’ books, he’s coaching a girls’ basketball team — and to see him go like this is just devastating, [as well as the loss of] his beautiful little girl [Gianna].”

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