Kobe Bryant dead: NBA teams honour Lakers legend with 24-second, 8-second violations, Dallas Mavericks retire number 24
Kobe Bryant was remembered on Sunday after the five-time NBA champion, his teenage daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash
NBA players and teams who competed with and against Bryant struggled their way through the games that were scheduled, unable to summon his intense competitive spirit
Players around the NBA honored Bryant by holding the ball for 24 seconds — one of his jersey numbers — for a 24-second shot clock violation at the start of games
Nets star Kyrie Irving didn't play, leaving the arena after hearing of Bryant's death
NBA and sporting world at large mourned the death of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant who passed away in a helicopter crash on Sunday. Even as news continued to develop of the tragedy and people started to come to terms with the shocking information, eight games in the NBA went ahead as scheduled.
Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets were the first to take court in Colorado with an extended moment of silence being held in memory of Kobe. Players on the sidelines and on court could be seen grieving with their peers before and during the game.
The Rockets & Nuggets hold a moment of silence for Kobe Bryant. pic.twitter.com/5LV9ddyi42
— NBA TV (@NBATV) January 26, 2020
P.J. Tucker wearing Kobe’s today with a written message pic.twitter.com/TkXJE2rDUG
— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) January 26, 2020
The Orlando Magic, who faced the Los Angeles Clippers, had announced they would observe a moment of silence in memory of Bryant.
They tweeted: "The Orlando Magic is deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Kobe Bryant. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Bryant family, the L.A. Lakers and the other victims of today's tragedy and their families. We will observe a moment of silence before tonight's game."
Photo of the Night: 24 pic.twitter.com/ppcePov4Oa
— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) January 27, 2020
San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors got going later, and they found a unique way to honour Bryant. As the game started, both sets of players dribbled out the shot clock and voluntarily took back-to-back 24-second violations in tribute to Kobe's No. 24 jersey, which he wore with the Lakers from 2007 to the end of his career in 2016. As both Raptors and Spurs took shot clock violations, the crowd inside the the AT&T Center in San Antonio began chanting "Kobe" and rose to give a standing ovation.
It also sparked a trend carried out by several other teams in later games to pay their respects to the legendary 41-year-old player.
Both the Pelicans and Celtics take 24 second violations to honor Kobe pic.twitter.com/2vWLS1kbom
— Dan Greenberg (@StoolGreenie) January 26, 2020
In addition to the 24-second violations, multiple teams, such as Phoenix Suns, intentionally took eight-second backcourt violations as a way to honor Bryant's original No. 8 with the Lakers.
— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) January 26, 2020
Beyond the on-court tributes, Dallas Mavericks announced through a statement that they would be retiring the No. 24 jersey. “Kobe’s legacy transcends basketball, and our organization has decided that the number 24 will never again be worn by a Dallas Maverick,” Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said.
Sunday's helicopter crash happened in Calabasas, California, just north of downtown Los Angeles. The crash happened at around 10 AM with all nine people aboard being killed.
The tragedy death sparked a strong wave of grief across the sporting world with tributes and condolences flowing in from figures across the world.
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A change.org petition urging the league to "immortalise (Bryant) forever as the new NBA logo" has garnered more than 3 million signatures since Bryant died in a helicopter crash in January of 2020.
The league does not identify players results, but any player who tests positive is isolated or quarantined until they are cleared under NBA health and safety guidelines.
This is a bizarre season for the NBA in a bizarre time for the world. There is, however, one constant. The Eastern Conference standings are a mess.