EL SEGUNDO (CBSLA) – In what was likely the most somber practice in team history, the Los Angeles Lakers were back on the hardwood Wednesday for the first time since the fatal helicopter crash that claimed the lives of Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven other people.

Calling the session therapeutic, head coach Frank Vogel spoke to reporters after the practice session at the team’s El Segundo facility. Vogel – still
visibly shaken by Bryant’s death – declined to answer questions about what he’d like to say to Bryant or what his favorite memory of the Laker legend is.

“Some questions I’m just not going to be able to answer right now,” he said.

Wednesday’s practice wasn’t a particularly difficult one, just an effort to slowly get the team back in a basketball mindset, Vogel said.

A CBSLA video crew captured footage of LeBron James and Anthony Davis shooting around and sharing a lighthearted conversation with coaches Jason Kidd and Lionel Hollins.

Vogel said coping with Bryant’s death has “just strengthened what we’ve felt all year about our current group, which is we’ve become a family in a very short time.”

“It’s something you talk about in the NBA with your teams, but this group in particular has really grown to love each other very rapidly, and we understand the importance and opportunity we have this year,” Vogel added. “This has just brought us closer together.”

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