LeBron James ended a touching tribute to Kobe Bryant on Friday evening before the Lakers game with a speech from the court, in which he described the memory of Kobe and the game as a "celebration" of his life.
Standing in the spotlight in an otherwise dark Staples Center, James said he had dropped any statements made to speak to the Lakers "family" from the heart.
"I know we will have a monument to Kobe someday, but I consider this a celebration tonight. It is a celebration of the 20 years of blood, sweat, tears, collapsed body, getting up, sitting, countless hours, and the determination to be as big as possible, ”said James.
“Tonight we are celebrating the boy who came here at 18. Retired at 38 and probably the best father you have seen in the past three years, ”he added.
"Tonight is a party."
The speech was the last moment of a pre-game ceremony with appearances by the R&B group Boyz II Men and Usher.
Before the game, the Lakers reserved two seats on the courtyard side for Bryant and his daughter Gianna, 13, who covered them in jerseys and sprinkled them with bouquets of roses.
When James, Anthony Davis, and the rest of the Lakers squad warmed up before their match against the Portland Trail Blazers, they all wore jerseys with Bryant's name.
The players wore either No. 24 and No. 8 – the two numbers that Bryant wore during his career in the team.
Kobe and Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash last Sunday when the helicopter they were flying into crashed against the side of a mountain near Calabasas, California.