The basketball world is still in shock after learning that Lakers’ legend Kobe Bryant died Sunday when his helicopter crashed in California. Several NBA teams paid tribute during Sunday’s game with a 24-second shot clock violation signifying the No. 24 Bryant donned for the second half of his career. Teams also took 8-second violations to honor the number he started his career with. Fans gave standing ovations and “Kobe” chants were heard in arenas throughout the country.

Before the Raptors got set to play the Spurs in San Antonio, a moment of silence was held and Spurs’ guard Lonnie Walker, assistants coaches Becky Hammon and Tim Duncan were visibly upset on the bench.


“Everybody is pretty emotional about the tragedy with Kobe,” Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said. “All of us know what a great player he was, but he went beyond great playing. He was a competitor — that goes unmatched. It’s what made him as a player so attractive to everybody — that focus, that competitiveness, that will to win. And even more importantly than that, we all feel a deep sense of loss for what he meant to all of us in so many ways, and so many millions of people loved him for so many different reasons. It’s just a tragic thing.”

“You think about his family and his friends and the situation they are going through,” Raptors center Marc Gasol said. “You just want to go home and kiss your kids and your wife. The rest is irrelevant right now.”

In Atlanta’s game against the Wizards, Hawks’ point guard Trae Young wore a No. 8 jersey and took an 8-second violation crouching to his knees as he emotionally watched the clock hit zero before changing back to his No. 11 jersey. “Today was a tough day to play basketball,” said Young who scored 45 points with 14 assists Sunday. “My condolences go out to Vanessa and the Bryant family. It’s a tough day to play. I just wanted to go out and play for him.” Suns guard Devin Booker and Young remarkably combined for 81 points and each took 24 shots.

The Nets were at Madison Square Garden to take on the Knicks but Kyrie Irving was not able to play because he was too distraught following Bryant’s passing. “As an organization, we’re devastated. Our players are devastated,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson told ESPN. “We have a player [Irving] that’s very close to Kobe. Our thoughts and prayers are with him also. Just a tough time for the NBA for all of us.”

In New Orleans, the Pelicans and Celtics also started the game with shot clock violations as the crowd gave a standing ovation and chanted “Kobe, Kobe.” Kemba Walker looked over at Lonzo Ball holding up two, then four fingers and said, “two-four, two-four.” Ball nodded and held the ball while clapping as the Pelicans took their 24-second violation.

Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said in a statement“Kobe’s legacy transcends basketball, and our organization has decided that the number 24 will never again be worn by a Dallas Maverick.”




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