On Monday afternoon, the NBA announced that Tuesday’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and LA Clippers would be postponed at the request of the Lakers, who found out that Kobe Bryant and his 13 year old daughter Gianna were tragically killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday morning.
Bryant hung up his sneakers in 2016, but he still has deep ties to the organization, as one does after spending 20 years with the same team. For example, his former agent, Rob Pelinka, is the general manager of the team. Pelinka was also Gianna’s godfather.
Bryant also worked closely with the Lakers’ director of sports performance Judy Seto when she was a physical therapist with the team. Bryant said Seto was an “enormous” part of why he was able to play until he was 37 years old.
Then, of course, there are the players who he played with and competed against. In fact, only three players (not including two-way players) on the Lakers’ roster never got the chance to play against Bryant: Talen Horton-Tucker, Alex Caruso and Kyle Kuzma. However, Kuzma did develop a relationship with Bryant early in his NBA career.
This list goes on, and it seemingly has no end. That’s why the NBA has taken the necessary steps to help those affected by Bryant’s death by bringing in grief counselors for all players and staff:
Kobe Bryant wasn’t just a Lakers player, he was a 20-year Laker employee that had many relationships with other Laker employees. As such, the team has brought in grief counselors to the office today to provide comfort and guidance in both group and 1-on-1 sessions, per a source— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 27, 2020
As @mcten first reported, the Lakers had grief counselors at their facility today for group & 1-on-1 sessions to help with coping with Kobe Bryant's passing. Lakers will have grief counselors available for however long it's needed.— Mark Medina (@MarkG_Medina) January 27, 2020
Yahoo Sources: The NBA provided grieving counselors for the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday to aide in dealing with the tragic loss of Kobe Bryant. After speaking with players and members of staff, it was determined the best course of action was postponing Tuesday’s game.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) January 27, 2020
This a nice response from the NBA after they opted not to take action and cancel the games that were scheduled on Sunday, the day the news of Bryant’s death broke. Of course the team that Bryant spent the entirety of his career with will be hurting the most, but they’re not the only ones. Bryant had friends scattered across the league — friends that are players, coaches, general managers, etc.
It’s going to take a while for these people to heal, and the NBA should give them the time and resources to do so. Luckily, it looks like they’re doing just that.