When the tragic loss of Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant and seven others rocked the Los Angeles Lakers family nearly one year ago, the franchise responded with a number of beautiful tributes to honor the basketball legend.
L.A.’s first home game following his death featured highly emotional moments, with a full pre-game ceremony dedicated to Bryant and those who were lost in the tragedy. The Lakers followed that up with a public memorial service held at Staples Center approximately one month later.
Speeches by Vanessa Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, Michael Jordan, Sabrina Ionescu, and others gave fans and the NBA world another chance to remember Bryant and his daughter. L.A. felt all of it was necessary to honor someone who gave so much to the franchise, the city, and the entire world.
This year, as the one-year anniversary of the tragedy arrives Tuesday, the Lakers reportedly have no plans for a formal tribute. They chose to pass on such in the interest of the emotional trauma that could come from re-living the events, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN:
With emotions still raw, the Lakers organization has no plans to make this Tuesday, Jan. 26, any more difficult than it already will be by placing any further emphasis on the anniversary, sources told ESPN. There will be no Black Mamba uniforms worn Monday in Cleveland, the day before the anniversary, or Wednesday in Philadelphia, the day after. There will be no formal tribute, which could potentially draw more attention to the harrowing details of the accident and cause more trauma than healing.
The Lakers do not have a game on the exact one-year anniversary, but it appears that did not factor into the decision. Many within the organization and outside of it are still grieving, and re-hashing those feelings of grief on what will already be a painful day for many would likely not be the best choice.
Still, Tuesday’s anniversary will assuredly be filled with tributes on social media. ESPN also released a documentary of their own on Sunday night.
Anthony Davis felt Lakers were destined to win championship last season for Bryant
The Lakers regularly said they were motivated to uphold Bryant’s standard and memory for the remainder of the 2019-20 season, which resulted in the franchise’s 17th NBA championship.
Looking back on the accomplishment,Anthony Davis felt they were destined to win the title. “Ever since the tragedy happened we had a mindset that this is bigger than ourselves,” Davis said.
“There were so many signs in the bubble that he was there with us. We had a different approach every time we had the jerseys on. I think it was Game 5 against Portland, the score was 24-8. We had games in the season where there were signs on the scoreboard that Kobe was with us. Me, subconsciously yelling ‘Kobe’ when I made the shot (against the Nuggets).
“There’s just a lot of things that happened that we didn’t expect to happen. It just happened and it showed us it was destined for us to win a championship for him. That was our approach last year and it’s the same approach this year.”
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