Emotional night in LA as Blazers, Lakers honor Kobe Byrant


Fans were given shirts with Kobe's numbers, 24 and 8, on them

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It was an emotional start to the first game the Los Angeles Lakers have played since the death of legendary player, Kobe Bryant. Both he and his daughter, Gianna, were honored in a ceremony before the game between the Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center Friday evening.

The ceremony opened with a rendition of “Amazing Grace” by R&B singer Usher. A video honoring the late Bryant played while cellist Ben Hong performed, and Boyz II Men followed with the national anthem. The ceremony ended with the Lakers’ LeBron James, wearing a No. 24 jersey, speaking about Bryant.

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James looks down while speaking to the crowd about Kobe Bryant, prior to the team’s NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Los Angeles, Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Kelvin Kuo)

In the hours leading up to the game, both the Lakers and the Trail Blazers shared touching memorials of the father-daughter duo. The Blazers shared a tribute video on Twitter on Friday afternoon.

Damian Lillard posted on his Instagram account from Staples Center, where the seats were lined with number 24 jerseys. “In his name we play,” the caption read.

View this post on Instagram

In his name we play. @bruceely :🤳🏾

A post shared by Damian Lillard (@damianlillard) on

A number of players between the Lakers and Blazers played with Kobe. Carmelo Anthony, who isn’t playing Friday because of personal reasons, won two Olympic Gold Medals with him.

Bryant was an 18-time NBA All-Star who won five championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career with the Lakers.

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