In their first comments since the tragic deaths of Kobe Bryant, his 13 year old daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter accident on Sunday, the Los Angeles Lakers thanked fans for their support, and said they would continuing to support the Bryant family:
In consultation with the NBA League office, the game scheduled between the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers for Tuesday, January 28 will be postponed and scheduled for a future date.
The Los Angeles Lakers would like to thank all of you for the tremendous outpouring of support and condolences. This is a very difficult time for all of us. We continue to support the Bryant family and will share more information as it is available.
As the Lakers’ statement mentions, the NBA announced that their game against the Clippers (originally slated for Tuesday) would be rescheduled in order to allow everyone time to grieve. That would seem to be the sensible call, and it’s heartening during what has been a difficult last day or so to hear that the team’s focus is on making sure that a family that just lost a father, husband, sister and daughter in Kobe and Gianna is getting as much emotional support as possible.
Ramona said on First Take that Jeanie and Rob drove down to OC to be with Vanessa when they found out the news yesterday. The Lakers have not released a statement or anything because they’re letting Vanessa take the lead on this.— Daniel Starkand (@DStarkand) January 27, 2020
I can only imagine what they’re all going through
Both parties have been getting no shortage of love from fans in the day or so since the accident. Supporters and well-wishers flocked to Staples Center, the crash site and even the UCLA Health Training Center (where the Lakers practice) to collectively mourn Bryant and the rest of those killed in this tragedy.
The Lakers welcomed them, figuratively opening their arms by literally opening their doors, taking the rare step of leaving the security gates at the practice facility open so that fans would have a place to grieve together. They’ve been flocking in droves to leave messages of support, and tokens of appreciation.
It’s not just the fans, players and (most importantly) families who have to mourn here, either. Bryant left an indelible imprint on the entire organization. The team is run by his former agent and close friend, Rob Pelinka. Jeanie Buss has known him since he was 17 years old, and watched him grow into a 41-year-old father of four daughters. Countless staff members knew Bryant for decades, and are surely at struggling with grief.
For so many of us, basketball is an escape. For readers of this site, the Lakers have likely offered refuge during countless times of struggle. Lakers fans have shined when finally given a chance to reciprocate that support, and it seems the organization is appreciative of it.