How am I supposed to write about, or pretend to care about how this team matches up against the Portland Trail Blazers? Why does that even matter, right now? And forget me, how is the team and the organization itself supposed to focus on a basketball game right now?
That’s how. I’ve been sitting here, staring at this blank line for who knows how long trying to come up with something profound to say, but there is just the word that keeps popping into my brain.
We have to mourn, grieve and try and return to normalcy.
Tonight that won’t work. Nothing is going to be normal about this night. I wouldn’t be surprised if even the squeaking of the shoes and the whooshing of a ball swishing crisply through the net sound different in a post-Bryant world.
There will be tributes. There will be speeches. There will be tears shed. But maybe, just maybe, by all gathering together in the heart of Los Angeles — whether in person or by proxy through the television and internet — we can watch the game Bryant, his daughter Gianna and everyone else on that helicopter loved so much, and begin the process of healing.
It’s not going to feel normal. But maybe it’s the first baby step back towards normalcy. Sometimes, that’s all we can do.
Notes and Updates
- This feels callous, and there is no way for the transition to not feel abrupt, but we have to start at some point, so here are a few things to know heading into tonight’s game.
- The Lakers originally listed Alex Caruso (neck soreness) and Anthony Davis (gluteus maximus contusion) as questionable for tonight’s game, but Davis will play, and Caruso has been upgraded to a game-time decision.
Alex Caruso is a game-time decision tonight with neck stiffness. Everyone else will be available.— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) January 31, 2020
- There was an update on the trade talks between the Lakers and Kings about Kyle Kuzma yesterday, and it sounds like the teams aren’t close to a deal at this point.
The Lakers tip off against the Blazers in Staples Center at 7:30 p.m. PST. They will be doing this giveaway for those in attendance:
Fans at tonight’s Lakers game against the Trail Blazers will receive these shirts to honor Kobe Bryant. One number for each side of Staples Center. pic.twitter.com/mmJ5wbSF9p— Sandy Hooper (@SandyHooper) January 31, 2020
There have also been — and likely will continue to be — a few sneaker tributes:
Frank Vogel said the Lakers coaching staff will all be wearing Kobes tonight on the sideline. pic.twitter.com/8LLGKX8Rmp— Bill Oram (@billoram) January 31, 2020
LeBron James wore an unreleased pair of Kobe’s signature Nike sneakers to shootaround Friday. They’re called the “Big Stage/Parades” and are inspired by the Kobe 5s that Bryant wore in the 2010 Finals and subsequent championship parade. (h/t @NickDePaula) pic.twitter.com/weqYzaa3o4— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 31, 2020
Hang in there as we all go through this together, and follow our own Christian Rivas (@RadRivas) for more updates from Staples Center tonight.