Kobe Bryant’s widow posted a heartbreaking photo on Instagram remembering her late husband and their 13-year-old daughter who perished in Sunday’s helicopter crash in Calabasas on the same night the Lakers paid tribute to their memory during an emotional game at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
‘There is no #24 without #2,’ Vanessa Bryant wrote in the caption of the Instagram post showing two empty chairs along courtside at the Staples Center.
The Lakers placed Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s basketball jerseys over the backrests while bouquets of red roses were rested on the seats.
Gianna Bryant played on the amateur girls’ basketball team coached by her father at his Mamba Academy.
Vanessa Bryant’s post included three heart emojis as well as the hashtags #GirlDaddy, #DaddysGirl, #MyBabies, #OurAngels, #KobeandGigi.
Bryant, his daughter, and seven other people were remembered before and during Friday night’s game against the Portland Trailblazers – the first Lakers game since Sunday’s tragedy. Portland won the game 127-119.
Vanessa Bryant was not present at the game on Friday night. She has asked the Lakers and the Staples Center to give her some of the items left by the thousands of fans who have turned the arena’s perimeter into a makeshift memorial for the late superstar.
The Staples Center plans to remove the items after Sunday’s Super Bowl, according to the Los Angeles Times.
‘It will have been a week,’ said Lee Zeidman, the president of the Staples Center.
‘We have contractually obligated events that are moving in.
‘Vanessa had reached out to us and said, “Our family would like the items out there.”
‘So we’re going to catalog every one of them.
‘By that I mean, t-shirts, letters, basketballs, stuffed animals, toys. We’re going to put those in specially made containers and we’re going to ship them to the family.’
Lakers star Lebron James spoke to the crowd from center court, Usher and Boyz II Men paid musical tribute with stirring renditions of Amazing Grace and the Star Spangled Banner, respectively, and the team posted a video montage of Bryant’s best moments while violinist Ben Hong played a mournful piece on cello.
Inside the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California, a purple light flashed on Bryant’s, 41, two Lakers jerseys –numbers eight and 24- as mourning fans chanted his name and yelled ‘MVP.’
The 20,000 stadium seats were filled with grieving fans wearing Bryant tribute shirts and a heartbroken Lebron James, 35, shared a touching speech on behalf of the Lakers team.
‘Now, I got something written down,’ James began, ‘but Lakers nation, I would be selling y’all short if I read off this s**t so I’m going to go from the heart.
‘The first thing that comes to mind is all about family, and as I look around this arena, we’re all grieving…When you’re going through something like this the best thing you can do is lean on the shoulders’ of your family.’
‘I heard about the Lakers nation and how much of a family it is and that is absolutely what I’ve seen this week. Not only from the players, not only from the coaching staff, not only from the league, but from everybody.’
‘Everybody’s that here…this is really, truly a family. I know Kobe, Gianna, Vanessa and everybody thanks you guys from the bottom of their hearts.’
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Source: Daily Mail