Game recognizes game and Kobe Bryant was an expert on that matter. The Black Mamba not only did it with the new generation of stars in the NBA, as he even transcended the barriers of his sport to help other athletes be great.

Following his tragic death, we’ve learned the impact Kobe made on the world of sports and this one story of the time Ronaldinho introduced a young Lionel Messi to him.

In an old interview, Kobe told the anecdote of how he met the Argentinian superstar when he was just starting his career at 17.

“A long time ago Barcelona came to Los Angeles. Ronaldinho was a good friend, I was talking with him and he told me ‘Kobe, look, I’m going to introduce you the guy who is going to be the greatest player of all times. I said ‘and you what? You are the best’, but he said ‘no, no, this guy right here is going to be the best’ and that guy was Lionel Messi, who was only 17.”

Messi would go to become arguably the footballer ever, just like Ronaldinho predicted when he first introduced the Argentinian to the Lakers legend.

Game recognizes game and Messi also proved that when he paid his tribute to Kobe.

 

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No tengo palabras… Todo mi cariño para la familia y amigos de Kobe. Fue un placer conocerle y compartir buenos momentos juntos. Se nos fue un genio como pocos.

Una publicación compartida de Leo Messi (@leomessi) el

“I have no words,” Messi wrote in an Instagram post. “All my love for Kobe’s family and friends. It was a pleasure to meet you and share good times together. You were a genius like few others.”

There is no doubt, this loss is going to be a painful one, very hard to forget.