Reliving The Lakers Tribute to Kobe

For the first time since the tragic accident that took the lives of 9 including Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna Bryant, the Lakers took the floor to try and play an NBA game against the Portland Trailblazers. Emphasis on the try. The Lakers lost a tough one last night, but in the words of Head Coach Frank Vogel “This week has been more about life than basketball, wins and losses.”

In what can only be described as an impossible situation, the Lakers franchise did a phenomenal job paying respect to the late great Kobe Bryant. Before the night began, the Lakers filled the Staples seats with Bryant t-shirts an 8 on front and 24 on the back. That is all but two seats, which were left vacant in honor of Kobe and Gigi.

The Lakers team came out of the tunnel for shoot around and pregame festivities, all wearing Kobe Bryant jerseys. They were greeted with a standing ovation.

Caldwell-Pope, Quinn Cook, LeBron James (left to right) during the singing of the national anthem

The Lakers pulled out all the stops as they brought in Usher to sing “Amazing Grace” and Boyz II Men to sing the national anthem. There was not a dry eye in Staples Center during the entirety of the tribute video and performances.

Lakers bench watching the Kobe Bryant tribute video

And just when you thought the tears were done for the night, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth performed “See You Again” at halftime to start the emotions up once again.

The highlight of the night was when LeBron took the microphone at center court and gave a speech from his heart.

In the words of Kobe Bryant ‘Mamba out’ But in the words of us ‘Not forgotten. Live on brother.” -LeBron James

For the game itself, the Lakers and for that matter the Blazers struggled early on to put the emotions of the night past them. Damian Lillard’s performance was Mamba-esc as he dropped 48 points 9 rebounds and 10 assists. Lillard had this to say after the game.

His performance reminded people to pull up a tweet by Kobe about Lillard.

In a close game the Blazers pulled away late, but like coach said the week wasn’t about wins and loses, especially not last nights game.

While the pain and emptiness will remain in the heart of the players and franchise by Kobe’s death, over the course of the coming weeks, expect the games to return somewhat normal and for the guys in the purple and gold to play on as Kobe would want.