76ers, A.C. Milan & Lower Merion High School Honor Kobe Bryant As Tributes Pour In
Following the infamous helicopter crash that claimed the lives of nine people including Kobe Bryantand his daughter Gianna Bryant,NBA players took the court with heavy hearts Tuesday honoring the fallen Lakers’ legend with emotional tributes.
In Philadelphia, where Bryant was born, the 76ers honored the nine victims with a tribute video that was shown on the scoreboard followed that up with a moment of silence. Along the sidelines No. 33 stickers surrounded the court referring to the number Bryant wore when he attended the nearby Lower Merion High School.
Before the game, players wore warm up jerseys that had an “8” or “24” on the back to honor the Black Mamba’s two numbers worn during his 20-year NBA career. Sixers’ center Joel Embiid wore a No. 24 jersey and ironically scored 24 points in his first game in three weeks. In a postgame interview, he said he gave up volleyball as a teen to pursue basketball because of Bryant’s influence.
Sixers’ point guard Ben Simmons took the court with sneakers that read “MAMBA FOREVER” and “R.I.P. GIGI” written in black marker while Tobias Harris donned sneakers that read “Rest in Peace Kobe” on his right shoe and “Rest in Peace GiGi” on his left. “I was a Lakers fan,” Harris told ESPN. “Modeling his work ethic inspired my game. When I got to the league, I played against him — we had a couple of conversations in games. That, for me, was like a dream come true.”
On Monday morning, Lower Merion High School began the day with a 33-second moment of silence and current students, past alumni and athletes have came to the school to pay respect the last couple of days placing teddy bears, candles and basketballs at a designated memorial.
“Honestly, I didn’t realize how much he had impacted my life until I found out the news,” local resident DaVonn Grosvenor said Monday. “It’s tough when you lose an icon, when you lose a legend. He had so much more to offer. So I just had to come by and pay my respects. The only way I knew how was on the grounds he walked on once upon a time.”
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