The Los Angeles Lakers were scheduled to tip off against the LA Clippers Tuesday evening at Staples Center in their first game since losing retired legend Kobe Bryant and eight others in a devastating helicopter crash Sunday morning. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the NBA has reportedly decided to postpone the primetime contest.
“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 the seven other people in a helicopter crash Sunday,” a portion of the official statement read.
After losing such a dignified member of the storied franchise, it’s understandable that players of the yellow and gold wouldn’t be in the right mindset to play in the arena the Philadelphia native called home for 20 years. After all, players across the league and good friends of the late star had difficulty processing the revelation before taking the hardwood Sunday afternoon.
In Bryant’s last tweet, Mamba congratulated James on passing his record, calling the 35-year-old his brother.
According to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, the King and Mamba shared one final conversation Saturday night following James’ historic performance. Several Lakers players also listened in on the exchange.
Since news of Bryant’s death surfaced, James has yet to make a public statement honoring his longtime friend and former teammate.
Clippers-Lakers Ticket Prices Skyrocketed to $1,000+
The game will undoubtedly be played at a later date, but tickets to watch the Western Conference powerhouses battle it out had already reached astronomical levels.
Per Hoop Central, the cheapest ticket for the contest retailed for $1,151.
Fans of all ages quickly gathered outside the famous arena to pay their respects to Bryant and the other victims. From placing various flowers arrangements to displaying the five-time champion’s iconic jersey, nearly every part of the exterior was covered in memorabilia.
Current Lakers Players Dedicate Their Season to Bryant
Although they definitely had their fair share of ups and downs, Dwight Howard posted a touching tribute to his former colleague on his Instagram and subsequently dedicated his season to Bryant.
A portion Howard’s caption reads: “We never know what can happen in life. Let’s appreciate life and each other while we are here. I’m damn shole gonna miss Kobe and Gigi sitting court side watching us this season. May you Rest In Peace Kobe and Gigi. This season is dedicated To Kobe.”
Following suit, current Lakers forward Danny Green also dedicated his campaign to Bryant and the other victims who died alongside him.
“You were an icon and an idol to us all! You were a God! and your legacy will forever live on. This season will be dedicated to you and the others we’ve lost today. prayers and condolences go out to the Bryant family and the other families that were on board.”
The Lakers host the Portland Trail Blazers Friday evening at 10:30 p.m. EST in their first game since Bryant’s untimely passing.