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Lakers play first game since Kobe Bryant's death

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James reacts during the national anthem after a memorial tribute to longtime Laker great Kobe Bryant before playing the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center, January 31, 2020. The Lakers played their first game since the NBA great, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others died in a helicopter crash on Sunday. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James reacts during the national anthem after a memorial tribute to longtime Laker great Kobe Bryant before playing the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center, January 31, 2020. The Lakers played their first game...more

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James reacts during the national anthem after a memorial tribute to longtime Laker great Kobe Bryant before playing the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center, January 31, 2020. The Lakers played their first game since the NBA great, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others died in a helicopter crash on Sunday. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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LeBron James began by reading the names of all nine victims of the tragedy and then throwing a piece of paper containing his prepared remarks on the court. "Laker nation, man, I would be selling you all short if I read off this s--t so I'm going to go straight from the heart," James said to a raucous applause from the sold-out crowd at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James began by reading the names of all nine victims of the tragedy and then throwing a piece of paper containing his prepared remarks on the court. "Laker nation, man, I would be selling you all short if I read off this s--t so I'm going to...more

LeBron James began by reading the names of all nine victims of the tragedy and then throwing a piece of paper containing his prepared remarks on the court. "Laker nation, man, I would be selling you all short if I read off this s--t so I'm going to go straight from the heart," James said to a raucous applause from the sold-out crowd at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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"This is a celebration of the 20 years of the blood, the sweat, the tears, the broken down body, the getting back up -- the determination to be as great as he could be," LeBron James said of Bryant, who played 20 seasons with the Lakers, 18 as an all-star, and won five NBA championships. "Tonight we celebrate the kid who came here at 18 years of age, retired at 38 and became probably the best dad we've seen over the last three years," he said of Bryant, who has four daughters with wife Vanessa.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

"This is a celebration of the 20 years of the blood, the sweat, the tears, the broken down body, the getting back up -- the determination to be as great as he could be," LeBron James said of Bryant, who played 20 seasons with the Lakers, 18 as an...more

"This is a celebration of the 20 years of the blood, the sweat, the tears, the broken down body, the getting back up -- the determination to be as great as he could be," LeBron James said of Bryant, who played 20 seasons with the Lakers, 18 as an all-star, and won five NBA championships. "Tonight we celebrate the kid who came here at 18 years of age, retired at 38 and became probably the best dad we've seen over the last three years," he said of Bryant, who has four daughters with wife Vanessa. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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Usher sings "Amazing Grace" during a memorial tribute to Kobe Bryant before the game. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Usher sings "Amazing Grace" during a memorial tribute to Kobe Bryant before the game. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Usher sings "Amazing Grace" during a memorial tribute to Kobe Bryant before the game. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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Lakers guard Quinn Cook is overcome with emotion and is comforted by teammate Kentavious Caldwell-Pope during the national anthem. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Lakers guard Quinn Cook is overcome with emotion and is comforted by teammate Kentavious Caldwell-Pope during the national anthem. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Lakers guard Quinn Cook is overcome with emotion and is comforted by teammate Kentavious Caldwell-Pope during the national anthem. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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Lakers forward Anthony Davis wears a Kobe Bryant jersey during pregame warmups. The Lakers ran out the 24 second shot clock on their first possession of the game and the visiting Portland Trail Blazers did the same when they got the ball, as teams around the NBA have done since Bryant's passing.

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Lakers forward Anthony Davis wears a Kobe Bryant jersey during pregame warmups. The Lakers ran out the 24 second shot clock on their first possession of the game and the visiting Portland Trail Blazers did the same when they got the ball, as teams...more

Lakers forward Anthony Davis wears a Kobe Bryant jersey during pregame warmups. The Lakers ran out the 24 second shot clock on their first possession of the game and the visiting Portland Trail Blazers did the same when they got the ball, as teams around the NBA have done since Bryant's passing. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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Kobe's No. 24 and Gianna's No. 2 jerseys were placed on the two courtside seats where the pair watched their last Lakers game on December 29, 2019, and the crowd frequently broke out into chants of "Kobe" and Gianna's nickname "Gigi."

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Kobe's No. 24 and Gianna's No. 2 jerseys were placed on the two courtside seats where the pair watched their last Lakers game on December 29, 2019, and the crowd frequently broke out into chants of "Kobe" and Gianna's nickname "Gigi." Jayne...more

Kobe's No. 24 and Gianna's No. 2 jerseys were placed on the two courtside seats where the pair watched their last Lakers game on December 29, 2019, and the crowd frequently broke out into chants of "Kobe" and Gianna's nickname "Gigi." Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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Teammates of Gianna, whose basketball game the group was traveling to when the helicopter went down in foggy weather on a hillside northwest of Los Angeles, sat courtside.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Teammates of Gianna, whose basketball game the group was traveling to when the helicopter went down in foggy weather on a hillside northwest of Los Angeles, sat courtside. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Teammates of Gianna, whose basketball game the group was traveling to when the helicopter went down in foggy weather on a hillside northwest of Los Angeles, sat courtside. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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The Lakers fell 127-119 but the outcome felt somewhat beside the point. "LeBron being up there and speaking to Laker nation with such strength is what we're all about," Lakers head coach Frank Vogel told reporters after the game.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

The Lakers fell 127-119 but the outcome felt somewhat beside the point. "LeBron being up there and speaking to Laker nation with such strength is what we're all about," Lakers head coach Frank Vogel told reporters after the game. Jayne...more

The Lakers fell 127-119 but the outcome felt somewhat beside the point. "LeBron being up there and speaking to Laker nation with such strength is what we're all about," Lakers head coach Frank Vogel told reporters after the game. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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Cellist Yo-Yo Ma performs during a video tribute to Kobe Bryant before the game. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma performs during a video tribute to Kobe Bryant before the game. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma performs during a video tribute to Kobe Bryant before the game. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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"Along with my teammates I want to continue his legacy not only for this year but as long as we can play the game of basketball that we love because that's what Kobe Bryant would want. So in the words of Kobe Bryant, Mamba out," LeBron James said, referring to Bryant's famous sign off after his final game as a Laker in April 2016. "But in the words of us, not forgotten," he said. "Live on brother."

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

"Along with my teammates I want to continue his legacy not only for this year but as long as we can play the game of basketball that we love because that's what Kobe Bryant would want. So in the words of Kobe Bryant, Mamba out," LeBron James said,...more

"Along with my teammates I want to continue his legacy not only for this year but as long as we can play the game of basketball that we love because that's what Kobe Bryant would want. So in the words of Kobe Bryant, Mamba out," LeBron James said, referring to Bryant's famous sign off after his final game as a Laker in April 2016. "But in the words of us, not forgotten," he said. "Live on brother." Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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People gather at LA Live to visit makeshift memorials for Kobe Bryant. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

People gather at LA Live to visit makeshift memorials for Kobe Bryant. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

People gather at LA Live to visit makeshift memorials for Kobe Bryant. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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People walk by writing on the walkway at LA Live honoring Kobe Bryant. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

People walk by writing on the walkway at LA Live honoring Kobe Bryant. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

People walk by writing on the walkway at LA Live honoring Kobe Bryant. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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Mourners gather outside Staples Center before the game. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

Mourners gather outside Staples Center before the game. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

Mourners gather outside Staples Center before the game. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon
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A fan signs a board outside Staples Center before the game. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

A fan signs a board outside Staples Center before the game. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

A fan signs a board outside Staples Center before the game. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon
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Los Angeles Lakers Rajon Rondo, Anthony Davis and LeBron James wear uniform numbers worn by Kobe Bryant during pregame warmups. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers Rajon Rondo, Anthony Davis and LeBron James wear uniform numbers worn by Kobe Bryant during pregame warmups. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Lakers Rajon Rondo, Anthony Davis and LeBron James wear uniform numbers worn by Kobe Bryant during pregame warmups. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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LeBron James shoots during pregame warmups. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James shoots during pregame warmups. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James shoots during pregame warmups. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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Roses and the jerseys of Kobe Bryant (24) and his daughter Gianna (2) are draped on the seats they sat in during the last game they attended together. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Roses and the jerseys of Kobe Bryant (24) and his daughter Gianna (2) are draped on the seats they sat in during the last game they attended together. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Roses and the jerseys of Kobe Bryant (24) and his daughter Gianna (2) are draped on the seats they sat in during the last game they attended together. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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Mourners gather outside Staples Center before the game. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

Mourners gather outside Staples Center before the game. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

Mourners gather outside Staples Center before the game. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon
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A spotlight shines on two seats of Kobe and Gianna Bryant before the game. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

A spotlight shines on two seats of Kobe and Gianna Bryant before the game. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

A spotlight shines on two seats of Kobe and Gianna Bryant before the game. Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
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Mourners gather outside Staples Center before the game. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

Mourners gather outside Staples Center before the game. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

Mourners gather outside Staples Center before the game. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon
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An image of Kobe Bryant appears on screens at Tom s Watch Bar as fans watch the game. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

An image of Kobe Bryant appears on screens at Tom s Watch Bar as fans watch the game. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

An image of Kobe Bryant appears on screens at Tom s Watch Bar as fans watch the game. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon
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Mourners gather outside Staples Center before the game. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

Mourners gather outside Staples Center before the game. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

Mourners gather outside Staples Center before the game. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon
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Mourners gather outside Staples Center before the game. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

Mourners gather outside Staples Center before the game. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

Mourners gather outside Staples Center before the game. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon
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Mourners gather outside Staples Center before the game. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

Mourners gather outside Staples Center before the game. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

Mourners gather outside Staples Center before the game. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon
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Fans grieve for Kobe Bryant at a makeshift memorial at LA Live across the street from Staples Center. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Fans grieve for Kobe Bryant at a makeshift memorial at LA Live across the street from Staples Center. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Fans grieve for Kobe Bryant at a makeshift memorial at LA Live across the street from Staples Center. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
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