Boston Celtics players will be able to attend the Kobe Bryant memorial if they wish thanks to the organization allowing time during their trip west. Celtics players will be playing against the Lakers on Feb. 23 but have moved their flight out of Los Angles on the 24th to a later time so that players and staffers can attend the service if they would like according to the Boston Globe.
"I knew we'd have a number of guys who might want to go to the memorial," head coach Brad Stevens said. "It'll be completely up to them, but we wanted to give us that flexibility and that option. Staff and players will be able to go if they want to."
Celtics star Jayson Tatum — who grew up loving the Lake legend and worked out with Bryant during the offseason — says he plans on attending the memorial, but it's unclear on who else will go at this time.
During NBA All-Star weekend, several fans and players paid tribute to Bryant, including rapper Dr. Dre. Dre put together a 2-minute package video highlighting key moments in Bryant's career, including the time he won an Oscar for best animated short film Dear Basketball and the time he won the ESPY Icon award. Following the video, fellow Lakers legend Magic Johnson gave a moving speech before directing the crowd into an 8-second moment of silence.
"We'll never see another basketball player quite like Kobe, scoring 81 points in one game, scoring 60 points in his last game, and then, winning five NBA championships. But what I'm really proud about when we think about Kobe Bryant... he was passionate about being a great father, husband, filmmaker — young man won an Oscar — so we all are hurting. This is a tough time for the whole NBA family, and if I can get you all to rise right quick," Johnson said.
Bryant, his daughter Gianna Bryant and seven others were tragically killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Jan. 26. The Bryant's were accompanied by John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Alyssa Altobelli, Payton Chester, Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser, and pilot Ara Zobayan. The chopper was flying during foggy weather conditions that were so bad, LAPD grounded all of their aircraft. The group of basketball players and coaches were on their way to Bryant's Mamba Sports Academy for basketball practice when the helicopter went down.
Photo credit: Nathaniel S Butler/NBAE.