As the Los Angeles Lakers look to take another step toward a return to normalcy by facing the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night, Spectrum Networks is honoring the life and legacy of Kobe Bryant with special programming leading up to tipoff.
Beginning at 5 p.m. on Spectrum News 1, the first half hour of “Remembering Kobe Bryant” will air. The special will feature stories from former teammates, local athletes and Lakers fans. Then at 5:30 p.m., Spectrum News 1 and SportsNet will simulcast a two-our edition of “Access: SportsNet Lakers.”
Host Chris McGee will be joined by Mike Bresnahan, Allie Clifton and James Worthy, along with Jordan Farmar and Derek Fisher, both of whom of course won championships with Bryant during their respective careers.
Spectrum News 1 will then air the second half to “Remembering Kobe Bryant,” beginning at 7:30 p.m.
After the NBA postponed a matchup against the Clippers earlier this week, the Lakers slowly began resuming basketball activities. They held a light workout Tuesday and organized a lunch for front office members, staff personnel, coaches and players.
That served as an opportunity to recall Bryant’s memory and impact and share personal stories. During this time LeBron James was said to have embraced the challenge of leading the franchise through the grieving process and to a championship.
The Lakers held their first full practice and media availability on Wednesday, though only head coach Frank Vogel spoke. That again was the case after Thursday’s practice and Friday’s shootaround. The Lakers indicated players will address the media after playing the Trail Blazers.
The organization has released multiple statements, on behalf of the team, Jeanie Buss and Rob Pelinka. The Lakers’ vice president of basketball operations and general manager was Bryant’s longtime agent, close friend and godfather to Gianna.
“On Sunday, I lost my best friend and my sweet goddaughter. With that, there has been an amputation of part of my soul. Kobe was a force of nature, deep and obsessed with excellence. He was wise, determined, passionate. A visionary beyond measure. A dedicated and loving husband, and a “girl-dad” like no other,” Pelinka said in his statement.
“When he walked into a room, the energy ignited. He was high voltage, with a motor that had no limits. His mind had an infinite capacity to learn. He was, simply put, the most inspirational athlete of our time. What the world may not know, is that he was also the best friend anyone could ever imagine.
“Gigi was pure joy. Her smile brought comfort to any and every occasion. She was brilliant, kind and warm. And, like her dad, when she stepped onto the basketball court, she took on an entirely different nature, and boy could she play. Her basketball destiny was apparent, and the world knew it. She was also an extraordinary, loyal and supportive sister, and a wonderful friend to my children. My son and daughter always left time with Gigi feeling better about life itself. Everything Gigi stood for, I am so proud of.
“Maya Angelou once wrote “when great trees fall … lions hunker down in tall grasses.”
What I am daily learning is that after the tragic loss of these nine souls, life on this side of eternity will never be the same. For any of us who knew them, there is an irreplaceable void left behind.
“But I am also finding that there is a hope. For now, each new step for me will be full of deep love and prayers, as a heavy sorrow for Vanessa, Natalia, Bianka, and Capri, and all the families involved, is slowly redeemed into something healed and new. I am coming to realize that nothing can separate any of us from the love and inspiration we’ve received from Kobe and Gianna, nothing at all.
“Their lives have shown me that death has no victory. Last Sunday is not the end of the story. It’s just a new beginning. Kobe and Gigi’s legacies will live on – and gain even more power and influence. All of us touched by them will now try to become torch carriers of their legacies. And, while we do that, we can be certain of this: Kobe and Gigi will continue on, forever, playing a joy-filled game of basketball in heaven above.