The NBA is giving the Los Angeles Lakers time to grieve Kobe Bryant, who died along with his daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday, January 26. The organization announced on Monday, January 27, that it was postponing the team’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The two L.A. teams were scheduled to go head-to-head at the Staples Center in L.A. on Tuesday, January 28, but the NBA opted to reschedule the game to a later date. “The decision was made out of respect for the Lakers organization, which is deeply grieving the tragic loss of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people in a helicopter crash on Sunday,” the organization said in a press release.
Lakers fans congregated at the Staples Center on Sunday to mourn Bryant, who played for the team from 1996 to 2016. During that time, the athlete became a five-time NBA champion, an 18-time NBA All-Star, a two-time NBA Finals MVP and the NBA’s Most Valuable Player of 2008.
Following the 41-year-old’s death, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver eulogized the two-time Olympic gold medalist in a statement. “For 20 seasons, Kobe showed us what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning,” he wrote. “He was one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game with accomplishments that are legendary … But he will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability. He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna.”
Jack Nicholson, a lifelong Lakers fan, described his grief over the news in a rare interview on Sunday. “Where everything was solid, there’s a big hole in the wall,” the three-time Oscar winner told CBS Los Angeles. “I was so used to seeing and talking to Kobe that … you know, it kills you. It’s just a terrible event. … We’ll think of him all the time. We miss him.”