Lakers, Clippers honor Kobe as NBA basketball returns to Staples Center
Los Angeles — With Kobe Bryant’s retired numbers 8 and 24 lit up in the rafters…and thousands of fans proudly wearing Lakers jerseys in the arena, basketball has returned to the Staples Center — known as “The House Kobe Built” — as the LA Clippers faced off against the Sacramento Kings.
After their game on Tuesday against the Lakers was postponed, with just days after the shocking death of Kobe, the Clippers players wore shirts with Kobe’s number 8 during the pregame shootaround, while some of them also wore the Black Mamba’s signature sneakers during the game.
In a pregame ceremony, Southern California native Paul George narrated a tribute to Kobe, reading out the names of each of the nine victims of Sunday’s helicopter crash, including Kobe’s Fil-Am assistant coach Christina Mauser, before observing a 24 second moment of silence.
As the Kings, coached by Kobe’s former teammate Luke Walton beat the Clippers 124 to 103, on a record 21 made three-pointers, ,eanwhile as the Utah Jazz visited the Denver Nuggets, the black mamba’s FilAm protege Jordan Clarkson, wrote a message on his shoes for Kobe.
Coincidentally, Clarkson erupted for 24 of his season-high 37 points 4th quarter during the loss before the Jazz fell short 106 to 100.
The LA Live plaza outside Staples Center continued drawing thousands of fans, offering more flowers, and balloons to the makeshift memorial honoring Kobe.