Kobe Bryant honored in first game at Staples Center since his death

How Lakers are coping with loss of an NBA icon

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Hockey was being played Wednesday night, but Kobe Bryant’s memory was front and center in the first sporting event at Staples Center since the retired Los Angeles Lakers star’s death Sunday in a helicopter crash.

The Los Angeles Kings played a touching tribute to Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the other seven victims before their game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

It began with a haunting sound of a basketball being dribbled and a swish, as fans chanted, “Kobe, Kobe.”

“Kobe was our friend, our partner, your champion,” the announcer said. “He was a competitor. He was fierce. He was human. He was a hero to so many. Most importantly, he was a loving and devoted father.

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