First Lakers game since his death brings flock of mourners

First Lakers game since his death brings flock of mourners

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LOS ANGELES — The heartsick scene here at the Staples Center on Friday seemed to keep getting bigger and sadder and more surreal.  

A few hours before the Lakers played the Portland Trail Blazers, a flock of doves flew up from the plaza outside.

Down below, a quiet congregation of basketball fans gathered again to mourn, writing messages to their perished hero on the ground and offering pieces of art as gifts to the grieving.

“Tonight, I’m not going to the game,” said impressionist painter Reza Safa. “I’m just going to paint.”

He painted as people watched, adding careful strokes to a work he called “Carry Me Dad.” It depicted Gianna Bryant on the shoulders of her father Kobe, the Lakers legend, both of whom died Sunday with seven other people in a helicopter crash in Calabasas — an accident that sent shockwaves of sadness the world over.



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