The LA Lakers left 2 empty seats for Kobe and Gianna Bryant, and gave out 20,000 Bryant jerseys at the emotional first game since his death

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Two empty seats at the Staples Centre are adorned with roses to mark the deaths of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi at the first LA Lakers game since they died. Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters
  • NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were remembered with tributes in the first LA Lakers game since their deaths.
  • They and seven others died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday.
  • The Lakers played their first game sine Bryant’s death on Friday at the Staples Centre, against the Portland Trailblazers.
  • The Trailblazers won with 127 points to the Lakers’ 119.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were remembered with a series of tributes at the first Lakers game on Friday since their tragic death, including leaving them empty seats covered with roses.

Bryant, Gianna, and seven other passengers were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday.

The Los Angeles Lakers played their first game on Friday since Bryant’s death against the Portland Trailblazers. The Blazers beat the Lakers 127 to 119.

From their memorial courtside seats to 24-second and 8-second violations to honour the NBA icon’s retired numbers, here are the ways the Bryant legacy was honoured at the game:


20,000 shirts with Bryant’s jersey number were laid out on the seats of the Staples Centre in Los Angeles.

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Row on row of LA Lakers jerseys with Bryant’s name and number 24. Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Two courtside seats were reserved for Bryant and Gianna, draped with their jerseys and adorned with a bouquet of roses.

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Bryant’s retired jersey numbers — 8 and 24 — were up in lights for the game.

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The Lakers wore purple warm-ups with Bryant’s jersey.

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Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James reacts during the national anthem after a pre game tribute to Kobe Bryant before playing the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Centre. Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

Players don’t usually wear warmups onto the court, but made an exception for this game.


Usher sang an emotion-laden rendition of “Amazing Grace” to start off the game.

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A tribute video was played to honour Bryant’s legacy.

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Cellist Ben Hong performs during a video tribute to Bryant. Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters

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Boyz II Men performed the National Anthem.


LeBron James gave a heartfelt eulogy to his “brother” Kobe Bryant.

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All five starters, still wearing their Bryant-inspired warmups, were announced as “6-6 out of Lower Merion High School…Kobe Bryant.”

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Los Angeles Lakers Rajon Rondo, Anthony Davis and LeBron James in gear marked with Kobe Bryant’s name. Robert Hanashiro/USA TODAY Sports/Reuters


Several team members wrote messages on their shoes for both Kobe and Gigi.

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Kobe’s numbers and initials made an appearance on the floor of the court itself.

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Bryant’s jersey number could be seen in even the most minute details


The Lakers took a 24-second violation and the Blazers took an 8-second violation to honour Bryant’s two jersey numbers at the start of the game.


The Lakers coaches all wore Kobe Nike shoes.

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Singer Charlie Puth and rapper Wiz Khalifa performed “See You Again” during halftime.


After the Lakers’ defeat, James and the Blazers’ Dame Lillard, who both shared profound respect for Bryant, had a post-game embrace.