Kobe had connection with Lady Vol legend Tamika Catchings

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- In the past and earlier today, WVLT Sports Director Rick Russo likened the play of Kobe Bryant to one of his favorite Lady Vols of all time, Tamika Catchings.

She played like the All-Star, relentless at both ends of the floor and
as it turns out, the two knew each other. And when Tamika retired recently from the WNBA, Bryant sent this message to his long time friend,

"As kids growing up and running around Italy, running around the streets of Rome, who would have thought that we'd both have the careers we have had? I am extremely proud of you and make sure you enjoy your retirement."

And she has doing things like running basketball clinics, like Kobe she wore #24 and she's an Olympic gold medalist, but unlike Kobe, Catchings hasn't stayed retired long. She is now the GM of the WNBA team she played for, the Indiana Fever.

Bryant passed away, along with his daughter and multiple others, in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

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