NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant were honoured at the Staples Center last night, as the LA Lakers played their first game since the pair’s tragic death last Sunday (26th January).
At last night’s game against the Portland Trailblazers, two courtside seats were left empty and adorned with roses in a touching tribute to Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gigi.
In addition, 20,000 Bryant Jerseys were placed on every seat in the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California and Kobe’s retired numbers – 8 and 24 – were illuminated everywhere.
Kobe’s Lakers teammate, LeBron James also delivered a tear-jerking eulogy to his lost friend, while American singer Usher sang a heartfelt rendition of Amazing Grace.
This one really got me.
Several Lakers players wrote touching messages on their shoes for both Kobe and Gigi.
If you zoom in on this picture of LeBron James’ shoes from last night’s game, you can see that he’s written:
Many players from across the sporting sphere – not just basketball – have actually been scribbling tributes to the deceased pair on their shoes at various sporting events this week.
Fans and players alike could be seen desperately trying to hold back the tears during the various heartfelt tributes.
The world was left stunned last weekend when news of LA Lakers legend Kobe Bryant’s tragic death hit social media. Bryant, along with eight other people, including his 13-year-old daughter, were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday 26th January. The group were travelling to Bryant’s Mamba Academy for a practice session when the helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California.
Bryant regularly used his Sikorsky S-76 helicopter to travel to and from matches at the Staples Center.
He is survived by daughters, Natalia and Bianca and their newborn Capri.
Bryant is widely considered to be one of the greatest NBA players of all time. The lifelong LA Laker made 18 All-Star teams during his 20 year career. He was a first-round pick in the 1996 draft, winning 5 NBA championships, 2 NBA Finals MVPs and he was the league MVP in 2008.
On Thursday, Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s wife of 18 years, broke her silence with a heartbreaking statement on Instagram:
“There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now,” Bryant wrote in an Instagram post Wednesday evening, paired with a photo of her family.
“My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time.
“Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them. We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe—the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna—a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.
“I take comfort in knowing that Kobe and Gigi both knew that they were so deeply loved.”
“We were so incredibly blessed to have them in our lives. I wish they were here with us forever. They were our beautiful blessings taken from us too soon,” she went on. “I’m not sure what our lives hold beyond today, and it’s impossible to imagine life without them.”
Having worked in children's media and publishing for almost a decade, Ben is thoroughly excited to now be able to swear in stories and features. He is such a big fan of Disney and Horror films that he started an LGBTQ+ podcast called 'Once Upon A Scream'. His mum listens. You can contact Ben at [email protected] Twitter: @PulsfordBen / Instagram: @thebenmidlerFollow