Remembering Kobe: Blazers in Los Angeles for first Lakers game since death of an icon
PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - It was an emotional night in Los Angeles, as the Lakers took the court for the first time since the tragic death of NBA icon Kobe Bryant.
Their opponent was the Portland Trail Blazers.
Before the game, Blazers players talked about the emotions of the night.
Damian Lillard said it’s been a struggle for many to wrap their minds around what happened.
“We’re going to come out here and honor him by competing and showing our respect,” Lillard said.
“It’s still tough,” said CJ McCollum. “… It’s still hard to believe.”
Every fan in the building Friday was given a T-shirt depicting both of Bryant’s jersey numbers for the Lakers, number 8 and 24.
The game also featured a sentimental tribute before that had many people in the building in tears. Usher sang a heartfelt rendition of “Amazing Grace,” while Ben Hong bowed his cello over a video highlighting Bryant’s 20-year NBA career.
Two seats were left vacant in the Staples Center, adorned with jerseys and roses, as a tribute to Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who also died in the helicopter crash.
The Lakers also paid tribute to the other seven people who died in the crash: Alyssa Altobelli, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser and Ara Zobayan.
While this was the Lakers’ first game, it was the Blazers’ third since Sunday’s tragedy.
The Blazers won Friday night’s game 127-119. They go on to place the Jazz on Saturday night at the Moda Center.
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