MIAMI (WSVN) - The Miami Heat honored NBA legend Kobe Bryant with a 24-second moment of silence and a video tribute that played on the AmericanAirlines Arena’s screens.
A picture of Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, was shown on the downtown Miami arena’s screens prior to the Heat’s game against the Orlando Magic at 7:30 p.m., Monday.
Kobe and Gianna were among the nine that were killed following a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, Sunday.
Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra expressed his personal feelings of Bryant’s passing prior to the game.
“This has been a horrible 24 hours,” Spoelstra said. “As a parent, it absolutely crushes your heart to think about this.”
Heat rookie guard Tyler Herro honored Gianna by writing her name on his shoes.
Following the opening tip-off, the Heat held the ball for a 24-second violation while fans chanted Kobe’s name. Once they received the ball, the Magic held the ball for eight seconds for a mid-court violation. Bryant wore the number 8 and 24 in his 20-year NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Heat guard Dion Waiters said he had the utmost respect for Bryant.
“His leadership, his mentality, he just set the tone for a lot of guys coming up,” Waiters said. “That’s by far the hardest thing for me. I’m not going to lie, I don’t think I’ve cried in a long time since my little brother passed.”
Some fans inside of the arena wore Lakers jerseys bearing Bryant’s name on the back.
When asked if he was a big Kobe fan, Mark Louie said, “Huge. Huge. He meant everything to the Lakers. He’s bigger than just the city. He’s basketball, he’s a life to a lot of people, a lot of inspiration.”
Laker fan Ateev Shirajee said he was in disbelief when he heard the news of Bryant’s passing.
“It felt like a bad dream to be totally honest,” he said. “I saw the news, and I’m like, ‘It can’t be Kobe. He’s only 41. He’s a legend.'”
In a post on his Instagram page, Lakers star LeBron James said, in part, “I’m not ready but here I go. Man, I’m sitting here trying to write something for this post, but every time I try, I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had!”
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I’m Not Ready but here I go. Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had! I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn’t think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we’d have. WTF!! I’m heartbroken and devastated my brother!! 😢😢😢😢💔. Man I love you big bro. My heart goes to Vanessa and the kids. I promise you I’ll continue your legacy man! You mean so much to us all here especially #LakerNation💜💛 and it’s my responsibility to put this shit on my back and keep it going!! Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me! I got US here! There’s so much more I want to say but just can’t right now because I can’t get through it! Until we meet again my brother!! #Mamba4Life❤️🙏🏾 #Gigi4Life❤️🙏🏾
As a sign of respect for Kobe, Gianna and the seven others who died in the helicopter crash, the game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers scheduled for Tuesday night at the Staples Center has been postponed.
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