When the Los Angeles Lakers take the court tonight for the first time since Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash last weekend, they will do so with a couple of new touches to commemorate their former star.
On Twitter, the franchise debuted a new black, circular logo with a yellow “K” and “B” for Bryant’s initials, with a star in the lower part of the “K.” The logo will be placed on both the baseline of the court, and on the shoulder of their jerseys:
The team is also going to be placing Bryant’s Nos. 8 and 24 on the court, and while they are giving away shirts to every fan in attendance, the team is leaving the seats Kobe and Gianna memorably sat in earlier this season occupied only by their actual jerseys:
The Lakers placed the jerseys of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna over the court-side seats they occupied during the last game they attended here: pic.twitter.com/HZcKL9Wv8h— Baxter Holmes (@Baxter) February 1, 2020
Earlier in the day, the NBA revealed that it would pay its respects to Gianna and Kobe by having their numbers on the jerseys for the two teams in the 2020 NBA All-Star Game, with Team Giannis wearing No. 24 for Kobe, and Team LeBron wearing No. 2 for Gianna. The league will also put a patch with nine stars on it on the jerseys to remember all nine victims of the crash.
So far, the league as a whole has done an excellent job of honoring those that were lost over the weekend. These also aren’t the only tributes to Bryant — or his daughter, Gianna, and the other seven victims of the crash — that the Lakers are planning to debut tonight.
There will surely be tribute videos, and it appears that for now, only Bryant’s two retired jerseys will be on display. The team is also giving out No. 8 and No. 24 shirts to fans in attendance for what will essentially be a wake to remember and grieve those that were lost over the weekend, with a basketball game also taking place.
It surely wasn’t easy to prepare for an atmosphere like this. It’s fair to say that probably no one is ready for it. But the Lakers have handled this was class and grace so far, and it’s eminently clear that Bryant won’t soon be forgotten this season by anyone looking just about anywhere around Staples Center this season. The Lakers are going to make sure that if he’s gone, he’s never forgotten.