On Friday night, the Los Angeles Lakers will take the court for the first time since Kobe Bryant’s tragic death in a helicopter crash that also took the lives of his daughter and seven others. What normally would be a regular mid-season game against the visiting Blazers will be more like a memorial for a city that’s still grieving this staggering loss.
Friends and family from around the NBA will join his colleagues on court as they celebrate the life of one of basketball’s most iconic and transcendent figures in what is certain to be a solemn and highly emotional affair. Each seat in Staples Center will be outfitted with t-shirts featuring one of Kobe’s jersey numbers — No. 8 or No. 24 — for fans as a token of remembrance.
Fans at tonight’s Lakers game against the Trail Blazers will receive these shirts to honor Kobe Bryant. One number for each side of Staples Center. pic.twitter.com/mmJ5wbSF9p
— Sandy Hooper (@SandyHooper) January 31, 2020
And when LeBron arrived at the arena, he was greeted at his locker with Kobe’s No. 24 jersey, as a symbol of the bond they’d formed as friends and competitors over the years.
Beyond that, each jersey will feature these commemorative patches, and the same design will accent the court when the two teams face off tonight in Los Angeles.
They’ll take a similar track at the All-Star Game as Team LeBron and Team Giannis are set to wear jerseys honoring Kobe during a weekend that will no doubt double as memorial and celebration of his life.