LeBron James led tributes to LA Lakers legend Kobe Bryant in the team’s first game since he died in a helicopter crash alongside his daughter Gianna and seven other people.
The Lakers lost 127-119 to the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center on a night when the team remembered Bryant’s 20-year career in LA, which delivered five NBA championships.
Lakers players wore shirts with Bryant’s numbers – eight and 24 – displayed on them in the warm-up and a ‘KB’ logo was printed on the court.
The tribute began with each member of the Lakers’ line-up being introduced as “number eight, Kobe Bryant”, before R&B artist Usher sang Amazing Grace in front of yellow rose arrangements in the shapes of Bryant’s jersey numbers.
Kobe’s number 24 and Gianna’s number two jerseys were also placed on the two courtside seats where the pair watched their last Lakers game.
Bryant, who retired in 2016, was travelling to his 13-year-old daughter’s basketball practice when the incident happened in Calabasas, California on January 26.