The Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Golden State Warriors 116-86 on Thursday night, and fans at the Chase Center took a moment during the game to honor late Laker Kobe Bryant, starting a chant of "Kobe" as one of the Lakers lined up for a shot at the free throw line with less than two minutes left in the game's fourth quarter.
Kobe chants broke out at Chase Center 🙏 pic.twitter.com/29kQGxemA7— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 28, 2020
Bryant died on Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, two days before the Lakers were scheduled to play the Los Angeles Clippers. That game was rescheduled for a later date to give the team time to grieve.
"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, via ESPN.
Current Laker LeBron James was asked on Tuesday ahead of the Lakers' game against the New Orleans Pelicans whether Bryant's memorial on Monday had provided any sort of closure to the team.
"It's never a closure. It's never going to be a closure," James told reporters. "I mean, we continue to live on his legacy and continue to have our hearts heavy with both sadness and with happiness for his family that are still here. So it's not a closure. But it was a celebration which was well received from not only the Laker faithful, not only the family here, but everybody around the world."
Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, who also died in the crash along with seven others, were honored on Monday with a public memorial at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Many of Bryant's Lakers' teammates were in attendance as well as NBA greats like Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal, who both gave speeches during the event.
It is unclear whether James attended the memorial and he was evasive when asked about his presence or lack thereof, instead praising Bryant's wife, Vanessa, who delivered a eulogy for her husband and daughter at the event.0comments
"I respect your question, for sure, but it's very emotional. A very emotional day. A very tough day for myself, for my family, for everyone involved," James said. "One thing I can come out of it saying is how strong and how bold and how powerful Vanessa is. To stand up there the way she did, to give that speech the way she gave that speech. I commend her."
Photo Credit: Getty / Noah Graham