The sudden and tragic death of Kobe Bryant has cast a pall over the city of Los Angeles and the sports world at large.
ESPN reports that Tuesday’s game that would have the Clippers face the Lakers has been postponed. The league has allowed the Lakers some time to grieve over the loss of the friend and former player. Bryant played with the Lakers for 20 years and still had close relationships with those in the locker room and the front office. Grief counseling was offered to members of the Lakers organization and practice was canceled today for the players. The NBA issued a statement saying, “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 seven other people in a helicopter crash on Sunday.”
There had been discussions between the NBA, the Lakers and the Clippers with the Clippers granting the Lakers request to postpone. It’s rare for games to get postponed in the NBA outside of issues relating to weather or technical malfunction. This is yet another example of the outsized influence and inspiration Bryant held on the sport and the people who play it.
Throughout the league Monday night, multiple on-court tributes to Bryant took place. The Pistons and the Cavaliers opened their game with a 24-second shot clock violation and a 8-second backcourt violation, honoring both numbers Kobe wore during his career. The Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks would do the same. Just about every sporting event, regardless of city or sport, from hockey to the Super Bowl opening night, paid tribute to Kobe and Gianna.
The Lakers and Clippers will play at a yet to be determined date.