Less than a week after the helicopter crash that resulted in the deaths of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, the Los Angeles Lakers played again at the Staples Center, where Bryant played in and attended so many games over the years. Friday’s game between the Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers began with a pre-game tribute to Bryant, Gianna, and fellow victims Alyssa Altobelli, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser, and Ara Zobayan.
The Lakers all appeared on the court wearing Bryant’s numbers 8 and 24, and every seat was draped in his signature jerseys. The tribute included performances by Usher and Boyz II Men, as well as a speech from LeBron James.
“It doesn’t really feel like you’re here for a game,” fan Jeff Nadal told the Associated Press. “It feels like you’re here for something a lot bigger than that. We didn’t even know the guy, but we feel like we did.”
The Staples Center also asked the crowds of fans amassed outside to watch the tribute to Bryant and other victims of Sunday’s accident at home with their loved ones. The pre-game tribute was not broadcast on the Staples Center screens.
As we morn the l