LOS ANGELES — It was supposed to be the battle of LA between the Lakers and Clippers but instead fans fought back tears as the memorial outside Of the Staples Center grew even bigger.
This Filipino family visiting from Singapore was supposed to watch the game.
“It’s sad not even being here from the moment we heard the news.”
Since the passing of Kobe Bryant last Sunday, the daily crowd outside the Staples Center has only gotten bigger and more lively.
Singer AJ Rafael was among the thousands paying their respects to the basketball icon as more message walls and a mini hoop sprung up near the entrance.
Rafael attended Kobe’s final game in 2016.
“It’s been rough and it feels weird to be mourning over a celebrity but we grew up with this guy you know what I mean, me and my dad used to watch basketball when he was alive and he died 3 years after Kobe was drafted, so he didn’t get to see the explosion of Kobe.”
This wasn’t the only place feeling the Mamba mentality.
After Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban retired the numbers 8 and 24, several NBA players who wear Kobe’s numbers are also voluntarily giving it up.
It’s a move that Kobe fans appreciate.
The next Lakers home game is scheduled for Friday night and the team is expected to prepare a huge tribute for their former franchise player.