The world lost a basketball legend on Sunday, when Kobe Bryant and eight others — including Kobe’s daughter, Gianna — tragically died in a helicopter crash. The NBA chose to go on with Sunday’s games, and that’s understandably led to an extremely emotional day around the league. The tears have been pouring down.
— John Elizondo (@johndelizondo) January 26, 2020
— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) January 26, 2020
But the tributes have also been pouring in.
Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young was close to Kobe and Gianna, and shared an emotional hug with his mother in the pregame.
Man, this is absolutely heartbreaking: Trae Young, who was close with Kobe Bryant and Kobe's daughter Gianna, came off the floor pregame and shared a long hug with his mom. pic.twitter.com/a2wJ5Fhu2x
— Justin Felder (@Justin_FOX5) January 26, 2020
Young then began the game wearing No. 8 in honor of Kobe.
Trae Young takes off his warm-ups to reveal he will be wearing number 8 tonight in honor of Kobe Bryant. pic.twitter.com/Ig0EZXmIdK
— ClutchPoints NBA (@ClutchPointsNBA) January 26, 2020
Young switched back to his traditional No. 11 during the game, but paid tribute to Kobe in another way: by nailing a 42-foot shot beyond half-court at the halftime buzzer. He also finished the game — a 152-33 Hawks win — with 45 points and 14 assists.
This…. from Hawks Trae Young…. from 42 feet at buzzer….. for Kobe pic.twitter.com/1JZYnj0VYh
— Zach Klein (@ZachKleinWSB) January 27, 2020
While wearing No. 8, on 24 shots and going 81 percent from the free throw line. I mean, c'mon https://t.co/01QUmnDrHj
— Rhiannon Walker (@InstantRHIplay) January 27, 2020
The Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs each took 24-second shot-clock violations to honor Bryant (who was also No. 24), and that trend continued throughout the league on Sunday.
The New Orleans Pelicans and Boston Celtics each took 24-second violations, for example.
Both the Pelicans and Celtics took 24-second violations to start tonight's game to honor No. 24, Kobe Bryant. pic.twitter.com/8EOBQkB5zX
— ESPN (@espn) January 26, 2020
And the Memphis Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns honored both of Kobe’s numbers, with 24-second and eight-second violations.
A powerful moment in honor of Kobe.
After the Grizzlies took a 24-second violation to begin the game, the Suns took an 8-second violation. Devin Booker was moved to tears. pic.twitter.com/YikW0sY4rr
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) January 26, 2020
Madison Square Garden honored Bryant with a tribute before the New York Knicks’ game against the Brooklyn Nets.
Madison Square Garden honors Kobe Bryant pic.twitter.com/h9MEWngUIa
— YES Network (@YESNetwork) January 26, 2020
And “KO-BE!” chants could be heard throughout the arenas, like after this moment of silence at the Nuggets-Rockets game in Denver.
Nuggets hold extended moment of silence for Kobe Bryant.
Spontaneously, a “Ko-be” chant breaks out. pic.twitter.com/Rw9gLmfO9L
— Mike Singer (@msinger) January 26, 2020