​​Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho’s Kobe Bryant comments at his first Spurs press conference have resurfaced after the NBA legend died in a helicopter crash two days ago. Bryant was killed along with eight others, including his daughter Gianna, when a helicopter he was travelling in crashed in Los Angeles on Sunday.

In the hours since his shocking death, ​tributes to the 41-year-old have poured in from the world of sport. Poignant words from Spurs boss Mourinho back in November have also resurfaced.

56-year-old Mourinho hailed Bryant’s ‘professionalism’ and quoted the ‘serial winner’ before setting out his goal as head coach of Spurs.

“I read one quote from Kobe Bryant,” ​Mourinho said in November

“And if you have to speak about some examples of professionalism and serial winners, Kobe is a great example in his sport and in the world of sport. He says: ‘People say that I’m difficult but I’m only difficult for the ones that don’t share my principles.’ So all the colleagues that share his principles they just love him. The ones that don’t like him are the ones that don’t share the principles.

“With me it’s basically the same. For me, everything is about the team, it’s not about selfish people. For me, everything is about the group and professionalism and commitment and respect for the club, respect for the mates, respect for the fans.”

Bryant exemplified the team-first approach with the two-time Olympic gold medallist bleeding purple and gold. Kobe won five NBA titles during his 20-year career at the Los Angeles Lakers, including three in a row between 2000 and 2002 – the “three-peat” – alongside Shaquille O’Neal.

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