Lakers host Trail Blazers in first game since Kobe Bryant’s death

Lakers host Trail Blazers in first game since Kobe Bryant's death


The Los Angeles Lakers will try to resume focusing on basketball Friday night as they continue to mourn the loss of NBA icon Kobe Bryant.

The Lakers will play host to the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center.

Bryant, who spent his 20-year career with the Lakers and helped them win five NBA titles, died in a helicopter crash Sunday along with his daughter Gianna, and seven other people. They were on their way to an AAU basketball game at Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy.

The NBA postponed the Lakers’ scheduled game Tuesday against the cross-town rival Clippers to allow the team time to grieve. The Lakers came together for a luncheon instead, where they toasted Bryant and shared memories of the player known as Mamba.

While they practiced on Wednesday and Thursday, only coach Frank Vogel was available to the media. 

So Friday night is expected to be an emotional and poignant evening.

How to watch

The game will be televised on ESPN at 10:30 p.m. ET. Streaming on WatchESPN.

What to expect

The unexpected. There will be tributes to Bryant before, during and perhaps after the game, although the NBA and the Lakers have not shared their plans with the public. He has two jerseys retired and hanging from the rafters — his No. 8 and No. 24.

LeBron James and Anthony Davis will be sporting new tattoos honoring Bryant, which they introduced on their Instagram stories on Thursday. James’ tattoo appeared to be a snake — a tribute to the Black Mamba — with a No. 24.


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