LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — It was a somber night Thursday at Staples Center, where the Clippers played for the first time since NBA superstar Kobe Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash.
Bryant, 41, may have been the face of their hometown rivals, but the Clippers paid a touching tribute to the sports icon with a two-minute video narrated by Paul George.READ MORE: Jacqueline Avant, Wife Of Music Executive Clarence Avant, Found Shot To Death In Beverly Hills Home Invasion
“We gather tonight in the house that Kobe Bryant built to honor him, and them,” George said over images of the nine victims of the Sunday morning crash in Calabasas that also killed Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna; Orange Coast College head baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa; Mambas and Harbor Day School coach Christina Mauser, Mambas teammate Payton Chester and her mother Sarah, and pilot Ara Zobayan.
The Lakers and the Clippers had been scheduled to play a Tuesday night game, but the NBA postponed it as the teams grappled with the loss.READ MORE: Report: Reloaded Ammunition May Have Been In Gun That Alec Baldwin Fired On 'Rust' Set
Bryant was also honored across the country by the Lakers’ Showtime-era archenemy, the Boston Celtics. A 24-second moment of silence was observed before the Celtics played the Golden State Warriors.
The Lakers will play Friday night for the first time since the tragedy. The Lakers have not discussed what might precede the game against the Portland Trailblazers, but many expect an emotional night of tributes and memorials.
Staples Center officials said anyone planning to attend the game should be seated by 6 p.m. for the tribute program. Fans without tickets should come to L.A. Live hoping to see the tributes; it will not be shown on the big screen.MORE NEWS: 14 Cattle Killed After Big Rig Crashes Into Motorcycle Abandoned On Highway 395 In Hesperia
The Kobe memorial in XBOX plaza will remain in place through Sunday. All non-perishable items will be donated to the Bryant family.