New Delhi: Kobe Bryant has thanked Lionel Messi for the Argentine's heartfelt message to the retiring basketball great.
Bryant, 37, who announced retirement last Sunday, said during a Los Angeles Lakers's NBA game, "I'd like to thank Leo. I've known Leo since he was 17 or 18, since he was really young. I feel very proud to receive such nice messages from players like Messi. I'd like to say thanks to him and Fuerza Barca [Go Barca!]".
Earlier, the Barcelona superstar paid a fitting tribute to the 37-year-old shooting guard on Facebook.
"It's always sad to hear when a sportsman is retiring. But @kobebryant will always be in the history books as one of the greatest. It was he who helped me become interested in basketball. All the best in the next stage of your life, Kobe".
Both the athletes are considered the best in the respective fields, and are also good friends. They have worked together on various commercials for over the years.