The Los Angeles Lakers returned for their first NBA game at the Staples Center since the tragic death of legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year old daughter Gianna. The Lakers were slated to play the Clippers on Tuesday. However, the game was postponed after the tragic news. Tributes poured in for Kobe Bryant and the victims throughout the entire duration of the Lakers vs Trail Blazers game. Eventually, the Lakers lost.
The Trail Blazers, who played on Sunday against Indiana, shared a tribute video for Kobe and Gigi on Friday. Carmelo Anthony, who shared a close personal relationship with Kobe Bryant, was unavailable for the game as he continues to grieve the death of his friend. Blazers’ Damian Lillard said that he knows Anthony and Kobe shared a great bond and he respects his decision.
Boyz II Men then sang the national anthem wearing Bryant's No. 8. Also, Grammy Award winner Usher sang Amazing Grace in front of No. 8 and No. 24 shaped bouquets, the two numbers Bryant wore during his 20-year career with the Lakers.
Boyz II Men sings the national anthem during the Lakers’ pregame ceremony. pic.twitter.com/yvnwZhyd53— ESPN (@espn) February 1, 2020
Usher performs “Amazing Grace” during the Lakers’ tribute to Kobe. pic.twitter.com/NV88OpW5Uq— ESPN (@espn) February 1, 2020
Every seat at the Staples Center was draped with either a yellow No. 8 or a No. 24 jersey. Kobe Bryant’s two numbers and initials were also placed on the court as a tribute to the departed legend. Once the game kick-started, the Lakers did a symbolic 24-second violation and the Blazers did an eight-second backcourt violation. Again, this represented both of Bryant’s jersey numbers at Lakers. LeBron James gave a heartfelt speech, while fans lit candles outside the Staples centre.