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Monday, April 06, 2020

Lakers-Clippers game postponed in wake of Kobe Bryant death

The Los Angeles Lakers game against the Los Angeles Clippers scheduled for Tuesday at Staples Center has been postponed following the death of Kobe Bryant.

By: Reuters | Updated: January 28, 2020 8:40:10 am
Fans gather at L.A. Live in Los Angeles to pay their respects to former Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant who died in helicopter crash (Source: Sandy Hooper-USA TODAY)

The Los Angeles Lakers game against the Los Angeles Clippers scheduled for Tuesday at Staples Center has been postponed following the death of Kobe Bryant, the NBA said on Monday.

Bryant, who won five NBA titles in a 20-year career with the Lakers, and his 13-year-old daughter were among nine people who died on Sunday when the helicopter they were in crashed into a hillside outside the town of Calabasas, California.

The game will be rescheduled for a later date.

“The decision was made out of respect for the Lakers organization, which is deeply grieving the tragic loss of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people in a helicopter crash on Sunday,” the NBA said in a statement.

NBA games went on as planned on Sunday and teams honored the memory of Bryant with 24-second shot clock violations and in some cases 8-second backcourt violations — matching the jersey numbers the Lakers great wore during his career.

Bryant’s death sent shockwaves through the NBA, which he helped propel to international prominence, and tributes to him poured in from across the globe as athletes, celebrities and politicians reacted to the news.

“The Los Angeles Lakers would like to thank all of you for the tremendous outpouring of support and condolences,” the Lakers said in a statement.

“This is a very difficult time for all of us. We continue to support the Bryant family and will share more information as it is available.”

Teams continue to honor Bryant with variety of tributes

The tributes to Kobe Bryant continued through the NBA on Monday, with perhaps the most poignant moment taking place in Minnesota.

After the Timberwolves’ Karl-Anthony Towns sent the opening tip against the Sacramento Kings to teammate Andrew Wiggins, Wiggins placed the ball on the free-throw line as the team took an 8-second violation.

It was at that line where Bryant made two free throws in 2014 to pass Michael Jordan and move to No. 3 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list. The night before Bryant died, the Lakers’ LeBron James passed Bryant to move to the No. 3 slot on that same list.

Read | Kobe Bryant’s brilliant and complicated legacy

Bryant, 41, was one of nine people killed Sunday when the helicopter they were traveling in crashed in Calabasas, Calif. His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, also was among those who perished.

In Detroit, the Pistons opened the first game of the day by taking the floor during warmups wearing jerseys with the Nos. 8 and 24 — the two numbers Bryant wore in his career — and the name “BRYANT” on the back, and wearing them during 24 seconds of silence before the game.

The teams then traded 24- and 8-second violations to start the game, similar to what teams did Sunday after learning of Bryant’s death.

The Cavaliers’ Larry Nance Jr., a teammate with Bryant as a rookie in 2015-16, could been seen with tears in his eyes while sitting on the bench after the violations.

In Chicago, the Bulls took an 8-second violation to start the game, and San Antonio returned the favor by taking a 24-second violation. The Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder did the same in OKC, as did the Orlando Magic and host Miami Heat.

Also, Chris Paul sat out for the Thunder as he mourns the loss of Bryant. His absence, officially cited as personal reasons by the team, is his first missed game of the season. Paul and Bryant grew close while playing on two Olympic teams together.

The Kobe Bryant’s shot that wouldn’t fade away — his Fadeaway

The Heat also played a tribute video of both Kobe and Gianna Bryant before the opening tip.

Among the tributes on Sunday was Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban’s announcement that his club would retire the No. 24 in Bryant’s honor.

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