PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Basketball legend Kobe Bryant was killed Sunday morning in a helicopter crash, along with his daughter, Gianna, and seven others. The tragic news has rippled through the sports world and beyond.
The Portland Trail Blazers organization put out a statement that said how shocked and devastated they were by the news of Bryant’s death.
“Kobe’s indelible mark on the NBA and the game of basketball globally will live on forever. Our prayers and condolences are with the Bryant family and the other families affected, the Los Angeles Lakers organization and all those that knew and loved Kobe.“
The Blazers played the Indiana Pacers tonight at home and won by ten points. Before tip off, though, everyone in the Moda Center paused for a moment of silence for Bryant.
“We grew up—we spent half our life watching him play against the Blazers and it was tough to hear,” said Jeff Van Dyke from Yamhill.
KOIN 6 News spoke to several Blazers fans as they made their way into the arena Sunday evening. They described the news as devastating. There was even a memorial set up for Bryant in front of the Rip City sign.
“He was a good, supportive team player for the whole thing,” said Adam Ruess.
“Really sad,” said Mike Hines from Tualatin. “I remember my mom crying when Elvis Presley died, and today is similar to that for me. Kobe was a great basketball player and a great person. It really shook me pretty hard.”
“It’s kind of mind-blowing,” said Heith Hixson, who was on his way into the Blazers game. “He’s young. His family lost a daughter, a dad, a husband. It’s just really sad, it really is.”
As fans headed into the game Sunday evening, the excitement to see the Trail Blazers play was underscored with a sense of loss.
KOIN 6 News spoke to an employee at Nike’s downtown location. The store does not currently have any Kobe Bryant merchandise in stock since he was not a current player, however they suggested that it could change in the future.