On Friday, the Los Angeles Lakers played a game for the first time since Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter accident on Sunday. The Lakers' scheduled game against the LA Clippers on Tuesday night was postponed in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Remembering Kobe: Blazers 127, Lakers 119
The Lakers and Blazers began the game by exchanging violations to honor Kobe.
Early on, James led the way as the Lakers made big plays in the first half. The Lakers' forward finished with 22 points.
In the second half, Damian Lillard caught fire with his trademark long-range shots and big finishes at the rim. Lillard finished with 48 points, 10 assists and 9 rebounds.
NBA superstars around the league were impressed.
Damn Dame‼️— DWade (@DwyaneWade) February 1, 2020
DAME IS F****** LIKE DAT🔥— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) February 1, 2020
Different— Donovan Mitchell (@spidadmitchell) February 1, 2020
Superstars perform to honor Kobe at Staples Center
The Lakers held pregame and halftime festivities to honor Kobe Bryant with performances by Usher, Ben Hong, Boyz II Men, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth.
Tributes from inside Staples Center
When fans arrived at Staples Center, they found these shirts on their seats.
LeBron James entered the building.
The Lakers also made sure Kobe's name and number will be ever present inside the arena.
The House That Kobe Built pic.twitter.com/1exfvaXnE8— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) January 31, 2020
This locker. pic.twitter.com/zoErJY0rnL— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 1, 2020
Before the Lakers play tonight, an open thread for fans from all over the globe to share a message or memory 📝— ESPN (@espn) January 31, 2020
Dear Kobe, ⬇️
You taught me to be obsessed with improving my game mentally physically and spiritually; love and focus on the work and not the result. That the climb to greatness is a never ending process even when you are at the top. #MambaMentality is more than a mindset... it's a lifestyle.— Justin Reid (@jreid_viii) January 31, 2020
Thank you for inspiring me to go harder !— Nick Tanielu (@TanieluN) January 31, 2020
I met Kobe in CHI at the Hilton during breakfast in the Summer of 1999. He was with his wife. He was approached repeatedly and didn't deny any pics or autographs. I didn't want to disturb him so I waited until he was walking out. He stopped for me too. 😢— ™️Marcus (@TheMisterMarcus) January 31, 2020
You couldn't have told me to fix my collar when we were on air?! Just kidding. I'll miss you. - Dave pic.twitter.com/n7M9673BhE— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) February 1, 2020
Lakers pay homage to Kobe on feet
Frank Vogel says the Lakers coaching staff will all wear Kobe Bryant's signature sneakers on the bench tonight.— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 31, 2020
LeBron James wore an unreleased pair of Kobe's signature Nike sneakers to shootaround Friday. They're called the "Big Stage/Parades" and are inspired by the Kobe 5s that Bryant wore in the 2010 Finals and subsequent championship parade. (h/t @NickDePaula) pic.twitter.com/weqYzaa3o4— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 31, 2020
Carmelo sits out Friday night
Carmelo Anthony played in Portland's game Wednesday night, but decided to sit out Friday's game against the Lakers.
Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony will not play against the Lakers tonight for personal reasons, the team announced. pic.twitter.com/7d2zsiKEwY— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 31, 2020
NBA announces All-Star tributes
The 2020 NBA All-Star game will pay tribute to Kobe and Gianna Bryant 🙏— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 31, 2020
💜 Team LeBron will wear No. 2 and Team Giannis will wear No. 24, their jersey numbers.
💛 Both teams will wear patches with 9 stars, representing those who lost their lives in the helicopter crash. pic.twitter.com/mgOCPpqJ65
In addition to the All-Star Game honoring Kobe and Gianna, the Rising Stars Game jerseys will feature patches featuring the Nos. 2 and 24 in the center surrounded by nine stars, the league said on Friday.— Andrew Lopez (@_Andrew_Lopez) January 31, 2020