The Los Angeles Lakers have been rolling all season and are currently sitting atop the Western Conference. However, the team was snapped back to reality on Sunday when they learned the news about the death of team legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna. It was a crushing moment for the franchise that Bryant was still very involved in. While it’s difficult to fully honor such a legendary figure, many across the NBA have already done their best. Some teams have let the shot clock expire at the beginning of games because Bryant’s number was 24. Others have changed their numbers so that they can “retire” Kobe’s number.
It’s not clear how the Lakers plan to honor him just yet, but one player has revealed what he’s going to do. Quinn Cook has worn the number 2 since joining the team, but he’s changing it to honor both Kobe and his daughter Gianna.
“No. 2 is Gianna’s number,” Cook said, via Shams Charania. “I feel it should be retired. It’s hers.”
Though Gianna was just starting to make her mark on the basketball world, she was already building relationships with many players in the NBA thanks to her dad bringing her to a number of games. According to The Athletic, Cook will wear number 28 going former to honor Kobe’s number 8 and Gianna’s number 2.
Frank Vogel Speaks for Lakers Organization
It’s been an unimaginatively difficult time for the Lakers organization since the news about Kobe dropped. Understandably, many involved with the team have yet to address the public, nor should they be expected to. Current Lakers head coach Frank Vogel was the first to speak to the media directly on Wednesday and he was able to articulate what the team is going through right now.
“I’m around the people who were closest to Kobe during his time here and it’s been just a deeply saddening time for all of us,” Vogel said.
Kobe’s fingerprints were all over the team. The team’s general manager Rob Pelinka was his agent for years and he was very close with the Lakers’ ownership. It’s hard to imagine what they and the Bryant family are going through right now.
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‘Most Feared Man in the League’
Though he never got to coach Kobe, Vogel had his fair share of matchups against him. The coach has some really big praise for the late superstar.
“He was the most feared man in the league for an entire generation,” Vogel said. “The influence is profound league-wide, basketball community-wide, world-wide, Lakers family-wide.”
Kobe transcended basketball in many ways, but at the end of the day, he was a baller through and through. He had a killer instinct that was rare to see in sports. Vogel has an incredibly difficult job of keeping his team on track through these trying times. Many with the team will likely never get over the death of the legend, but there’s nothing that Kobe would’ve wanted more than for this Laker team to come out and win a championship.