Watch The Clippers' Moving Tribute To Kobe Bryant
The Clippers played Sacramento on Thursday in the first basketball game at Staples Center since Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash Sunday alongside his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others.
The Clippers had "KB24" written on their warm-up shirts, they had a spotlight shining on Bryant's No. 8 and No. 24 jerseys (which are normally covered during their home games) and they had a moving video tribute, which Paul George narrated.
"Our city is suffering," George said in the tribute. "Four days ago in Calabasas, nine lives were lost, leaving a gaping hole in the heart of Los Angeles. We gather tonight in the house that Kobe Bryant built to honor him and them. Kobe was as synonymous with Southern California as the sunshine. He touched every inch of it.
"He arrived in L.A. a prodigy, and grew into a phenomenon and retired a local institution and international icon. The outpouring of the past 96 hours is evidence of his ever-lasting impact. Whether he played for your team or against it, his allure was unmistakable. The dynamism, the determination, the drive. He won five championships with the Lakers, and shortly after unfurling his final fadeaway, earned an Academy Award.
"He was a storyteller, a mentor and, above all, a father. His 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was a basketball star in her own right. Join us in tribute to Kobe, Gigi and all the victims mourned throughout the Southland and across the globe."
George then named the seven other victims.
Bryant's helicopter crashed amid foggy conditions Sunday morning as it was headed to the Mamba Sports Academy, where Bryant was going to coach Gianna in a game.
The Clippers had a lot of ties to Bryant.
George and Kawhi Leonard grew up in Southern California, and they both attended Bryant's invite-only camp at the Mamba Sports Academy in mid-August. Lou Williams played alongside Bryant in 2015-16. And Clippers' coach Doc Rivers strategized against Bryant in two NBA Finals when he was at the helm of the Boston Celtics.
The Lakers will play for the first time since Bryant's death on Friday at Staples Center against Portland.
Lakers' coach Frank Vogel said Thursday that they have tributes planned for Bryant, but he declined to provide details.