LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Los Angeles Lakers will pay tribute to Kobe Bryant on Friday as the team play their first game since the NBA's death. However, details about this are still unclear.
The New Mexico Video Scoreboard pays respect and silence to Kobe Bryant for 24 seconds for him, his daughter Gigi and the seven others who have lost their lives. This happened before the Lobos took on the undefeated San Diego State Aztecs in the Dreamstyle Arena. Mandatory credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports
Bryant died with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others when the helicopter they were traveling in crashed in a fog on a hill northwest of Los Angeles on Sunday.
"I'm going to let it play tomorrow night, let's see it," Lakers coach Frank Vogel told reporters Thursday when asked what honors fans could expect when the team visited the Portland Trail Blazers.
"I've been taught some of the things we'll see. But I'll let it play tomorrow night."
The Lakers have postponed a game against the Los Angeles Clippers scheduled for Tuesday night after news of the accident broke out and it is unclear when this game is scheduled.
Training on Thursday began with a flag soccer game on an outfield near the team's practice area in the Southern California sun, which Vogel called "therapeutic".
"We strive to make us feel good," said Vogel.
"Laughter is always a good means when it is appropriate.
"We had some of that in training outside today … it's not the first time we've done it, but it feels good to be out there, you know, just a little variety.
"It was really just a warm-up. As soon as we got in, it was business, business, and getting into work."
Vogel said the team will return to normal, but admitted that with Bryant playing 20 seasons with the Lakers and winning five championships and millions of fans, focusing on the task ahead will be a challenge.
"I would imagine that it's probably more difficult than an ordinary game with all the emotions and stuff, but we shouldn't do it any differently," he said.
"It's the right thing, you know, it's going to be an important night for our franchise and for the Laker nation."