NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION NBA

The Latest From The Grieving Families, Lakers And NBA On The Death Of Kobe Bryant

January 30, 2020

The Associated Press
Photo: Damian Dovarganes

The Los Angeles Lakers moved away from the court and lightened the mood before their return to the court, the players, their coaching staff and general manager Rob Pelinka went to a park across the street from the team’s headquarters Thursday to play a little soccer and throw a football.

The Lakers will return to the court Friday night at Staples Center to face the Portland Trail Blazers in their first game since Bryant’s death along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.

The organization will hold a pregame tribute to the Bryant’s and the other victims, although the franchise wants the details kept private until game time.

“I would imagine it probably makes it a little harder than an ordinary game with all the emotions and that stuff, but we shouldn’t do it any other way,” Vogel said. “It’s the right thing to do, and an important night for our franchise and for Laker Nation.”

The NBA announced major changes to the All-Star format on Thursday, turning every quarter into a mini-game for charity before an untimed final quarter with a target score that will decide which team wins. Scores will be reset — back to 0-0 — at the start of the second and third quarters, then restored to begin the fourth quarter.

That’s where the tribute to Bryant and the No. 24 jersey he wore for the last decade of his NBA career comes into play. The team that wins the All-Star Game will be the first to reach a target score, determined by the total points the team in the lead scored in the first three quarters combined — plus 24, the obvious nod to Bryant.

Rob Pelinka the Los Angeles Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager broke his silence on Kobe Bryant’s death.

“On Sunday, I lost my best friend and my sweet goddaughter. With that, there has been an amputation of part of my soul. Kobe was a force of nature, deep and obsessed with excellence. He was wise, determined, passionate. A visionary beyond measure. A dedicated and loving husband, and a ‘girl-dad’ like no other. When he walked into a room, the energy ignited. He was high voltage, with a motor that had no limits. His mind had an infinite capacity to learn. He was, simply put, the most inspirational athlete of our time. What the world may not know, is that he was also the best friend anyone could ever imagine.”

“Gigi was pure joy. Her smile brought comfort to any and every occasion. She was brilliant, kind and warm. And, like her dad, when she stepped onto the basketball court, she took on an entirely different nature, and boy could she play. Her basketball destiny was apparent, and the world knew it. She was also an extraordinary, loyal and supportive sister, and a wonderful friend to my children. My son and daughter always left time with Gigi feeling better about life itself. Everything Gigi stood for, I am so proud of.”

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