The Los Angeles Lakers sent Kobe Bryant off in classy fashion, lifting the veil off of the two new jerseys residing in the STAPLES Center rafters. 8 and 24 will hang high over the purple and gold forever, and the franchise didn’t miss a step in the celebration.
Kobe’s “Dear Basketball,” animated short was a touching start to the tribute, especially with cameras centered on Bryant watching from afar, soaking in the 20 years of work being immortalized in one 20-minute ride at the center of the court he helped build.
The usual cast of Lakers greats and — sans Phil Jackson — gathered to give Kobe his first post-retirement sendoff. Magic Johnson and Jeanie Buss shared their love for what Bryant meant to the franchise, with fans showering him with applause and cheering for the gone-but-not-forgotten hero of Los Angeles.
If you missed the halftime celebration, or just want to watch it again, don’t worry. We’ve got you:
And if you haven’t seen “Dear Basketball” yet, we’ve got you covered there too:
Check out a few more of the sights from a night to remember below: