The Los Angeles Lakers will play Friday night in the “House That Kobe Built” in the first game since the death of Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna. It’s set to be an emotional game against the Portland Trailblazers as memorials are planned to honor Kobe, Gigi and the other 7 victims who died in the helicopter crash last Sunday.
Each fan will be given a special Kobe Bryant tribute jersey with either #8 or #24, the two numbers he wore during his time with the Los Angeles Lakers. Both numbers are also imprinted into the hardwood, along with a stylized logo of Kobe Bryant’s initials.
After Bryant’s death, the Lakers organization released a statement about how big a hole he will leave behind:
“We are devastated and have been forever changed by the sudden loss of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. We send our love to Vanessa, the Bryant family, and to the families of the other passengers.”
The Lakers continued that Kobe Bryant was more than just a basketball player and was beloved for being a pillar in the city of Los Angeles.
“Words cannot express what Kobe means to the Los Angeles Lakers, our fans, and our city. More than a basketball player, he was a beloved father, husband, and teammate. Their love and light will remain in our hearts forever.”
It’s unclear who will be attending the game for the Kobe Bryant tributes on Friday, when LeBron James and the rest of the team hit the court, but tickets price were astronomical, ranging from $700 – $9,000 for a seat in “The House That Kobe Built.”
Along with the tributes for the fans, one of the Lakers stars is showing his respect for Kobe’s daughter, Gianna Bryant, by giving up his jersey number. Lakers guard Quinn Cook announced he will no longer wear the #2 on his back out of respect for Gianna, who wore #2 on her own jersey. Cook has always been #2, but looked up to Kobe as a “hero” and will now wear #28 in honor of both Kobe and Gigi.
“I feel it should be retired. It’s hers,” Cook told NBA reporter Sams Charania.