After postponing Tuesday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Los Angeles Lakers are moving forward with basketball in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s death.
They’ll start Friday night at home against the Portland Trail Blazers, which promises to be an ode to Bryant as much as it is a basketball game.
New Kobe logo
Prior to tip-off, the Lakers revealed new logos honoring Bryant, who died along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash Sunday outside of Los Angeles.
The logo will also be placed as a patch on Lakers uniforms. The Lakers revealed the patch logo on a No. 28 Lakers jersey, a nod to the No. 2 that Gianna wore on her youth basketball team and the No. 8 Kobe wore during his early days with the Lakers.
Fans in attendance on Friday will find T-shirts at their seats emblazoned with Bryant’s jersey number. Half of the fans will receive No. 8 T-shirts and the other half will find No. 24 T-shirts, representing the number Bryant wore late in his career.
Each number has also been placed on the floor on the sideline.
Fans without tickets asked to stay home
Staples Center officials have asked fans without tickets to stay home to watch the tribute on TV. The arena became a hub of mourning and celebration of Bryant’s life almost immediately after his death on Sunday as fans flocked to pay tribute.
The big screens at the adjacent entertainment complex L.A. Live will not be showing the game or the tribute, according to a Staples Center statement.
"If you do not have a ticket tonight for the Lakers game, do not come down to L.A. Live," Staples Center president Lee Zeidman said, per ESPN. "Stay home with your loved ones. It's going to be a tremendous emotional tribute to Kobe, Gianna and the seven others and you don't want to miss it. We're not showing it on any LED screens here in downtown Los Angeles.”
Zeidman estimates that hundreds of thousands of fans have visited Staples Center since Bryant’s death to pay tribute and leave mementos such as letters, stuffed animals and toys. He said that Staples Center will box up the items and deliver them to Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, and his three surviving daughters.
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