Miami Heat continue Kobe Bryant tributes by wearing his shoes Tuesday against Celtics
Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra already has a plan once his sons are old enough to understand.
When Dante and Santiago Spoelstra start learning the game of basketball, their father has intentions of buying them a pair of Kobe Bryant shoes.
"I'm already planning on, when my sons get old enough, to order the Kobes. I'm doing that," Spoelstra said after Tuesday's loss to the Boston Celtics. "I'm going to tell them the story of Kobe Bryant. When they're old enough to understand, those shoes will be a symbol of excellence of work ethic and commitment and class."
Bryant was killed along with eight others Sunday in a helicopter crash. He was 41. His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was among the casualties. Bryant, who retired in 2016, is considered one of the top 10 players in league history.
The Heat held a tribute before Monday's game against the Orlando Magic but continued it the following day versus the Celtics. Both teams wore Bryant's signature shoe and both of his jersey numbers _ 24 and 8 _ were posted behind the basketball goal at AmericanAirlines Arena.
"Both PR staffs mentioned it. We were all on board," Spoelstra said. "All of us already had these [shoes]. If we had to get new ones, guys were able to do that. This is something that both sides wanted to do it and we're all on board for continuing to respect and honor what happened. I texted with Dwyane (Wade) and we've all been struggling with this incredible mental weight. It's like these last two-and-half days, your mind has been in the mud."
Center Bam Adebayo was one of the players most affected. Growing up, Bryant was his favorite player. After recording this third triple-double of the season Monday, he dedicated it to Bryant. Sadly, they never got to meet in person.
"It still hurts for all of us in the NBA," Adebayo said. "It's going to always feel like something is missing."