PHILADELPHIA (CBS) –The Los Angeles Lakers played their first game since Kobe Bryant’s death on Friday night. The Philadelphia native graduated from Lower Merion High School in 1996 and led the school to its first-ever state championship.
Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others died in a helicopter crash on Sunday in Calabasas, California.
The still-raw emotion moved inside of the Staples Center Friday.
In preparation of the Lakers’ matchup with the Trail Blazers, seats were draped in yellow T-shirts, half with the No. 8 and half with No. 24. Bryant wore both numbers during his 20-year career with the team.
Chants of “Kobe” rang out as the lights dimmed and Usher sang “Amazing Grace.”
Images of tributes from around the world played out for the crowd. All nine names of the lives lost were commemorated and Kobe was remembered for his most important role.
“Kobe was more than a basketball player. He was a beloved husband, author, Oscar, Emmy winner and most importantly, the father of four beautiful daughters,” the arena announce said.
The Staples Center then sat in honor for 24 seconds of silence before LeBron James gave a speech.
“Tonight we celebrate the kid that came here at 18, retired at 38 and became probably the best dad we’ve seen over the last three years.” pic.twitter.com/0sS7e91cuz
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) February 1, 2020
Lower Merion High School will pay tribute to Bryant ahead of the boys’ basketball game on Saturday.