On Sunday, the Toronto Raptors visited the San Antonio Spurs and played just hours after hearing the news of Kobe Bryant’s passing.
The game itself served as a passive backdrop to an emotional tribute for the late NBA and Los Angeles Lakers legend. Toronto ended up securing the 110-106 victory over the Spurs, but it truly did not matter and that was evident.
The Raptors’ Open Gym team was able to capture the event and the emotions surrounding it.
“You can imagine how hard it is to do your job at that point,” Raptors center Marc Gasol said.
“Because you’re not thinking about work, you’re not thinking about profession, you’re not thinking about points or anything like that. You’re thinking about life and what’s really important — the bare necessities for you as a human being and how fragile, and how all that can be gone in a split second.”
Prior to tip-off, former Raptor and Kobe admirer, Demar DeRozan was able to share a moment with his former teammates. Filled with emotions, the 30-year-old was able to reflect on the passing of the player that he modelled his entire career and style of play around.
In tribute to Kobe, both teams took turns to open the game with a shot clock violation — running out the 24 seconds for No. 24.
The admiration for Bryant from the Raptors was clear and the entire NBA is left stunned.
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