Born and raised in Lower Merion and forever a Philadelphian in our hearts. That’s one way Kobe Bryant will be remembered.
The Sixers plan to pay tribute to the late great basketball legend in a ceremony prior to tonight’s game versus the Golden State Warriors. The organization hasn’t confirmed what they plan to do or how they intend to honor Bryant but it will no doubt be an emotional scene in front of his hometown crowd at Wells Fargo Center.
The Sixers haven’t played since Jan. 25, the night before Bryant’s death when they fittingly beat the Lakers. LeBron James moved ahead of Bryant into third place on the NBA’s all-time scoring list in that contest.
Head coach Brett Brown relayed a story from Dec. 1, 2015, from Bryant’s final game in Philadelphia when he dropped 20 points on the Sixers. Brown said the future Hall-of-Famer sat in his office and regaled him with memories.
“After the game, Kobe visited with me for 45 minutes,” Brown told reporters, via The Inquirer‘s Keith Pompey. “To sit alone with him in my office and listen to him share his memories of his storied career and upbringing in Philadelphia is an unforgettable memory. He talked passionately about growing up in Philly.”
Sixers Player Open Up about Brown’s Influence
It was a scene that no one ever expected, one that never needed to happen. But it’s the new normal.
After Monday’s practice, Sixers players marched off the court and one-by-one shared their best memories and stories about Kobe Bryant. The 41-year-old legend who tragically died in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning in California was their hero. This was their Michael Jordan, the guy they grew up admiring and wanting to emulate on the basketball court.
“I think about the hours he put into his craft, his work ethic, those things inspired me as a player growing up,” forward Tobias Harris said, via Philly Voice. “I tried to model my work ethic after a guy like Kobe.”
The Sixers actually met as a team before Monday’s practice to talk it out. They reflected on life in general and remembered and swapped their best Kobe stories. The meeting proved to be the therapy session they need as they prepared to get back into the daily grind of the NBA schedule.
“We were very quiet, very sad, we all got a turn to say something about him and his life,” center Al Horford said, via The Inquirer’s Marc Narducci. “Coach [Brett] Brown put a lot of things in perspective for us. I was happy in a way to get with the guys, get us all together in one room.”
Joel Embiid’s Status Up in the Air for Tuesday
One player was noticeably absent from Monday’s media session: Joel Embiid. He has been upgraded to questionable for tonight’s game against the Warriors at Wells Fargo Center.
Per Philly Voice’s Kyle Neubeck, the All-Star center has to visit with a hand specialist on Tuesday before getting final clearance. Embiid’s status could come down to as late as the hour or two before tip-off.
Meanwhile, Embiid did take to social media to express his sorrow about Kobe Bryant’s passing. The big man wrote the following on Twitter:
Man I don’t even know where to start?? I started playing ball because of KOBE after watching the 2010 finals. I had never watched ball before that and that finals was the turning point of my life. I WANTED TO BE LIKE KOBE. I’m so FREAKING SAD right now!!!!
Follow the Heavy Philadelphia Eagles page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!