MANILA, Philippines – NBA players paid homage to Kobe Bryant in their own simple ways, with many honoring the late Los Angeles Lakers great through their fits and kicks.
The faces and names of Kobe and his daughter Gigi, who were killed with 7 others in a tragic Los Angeles helicopter crash, were plastered all over the NBA from shoes to shirts as players mourned the shock deaths.
Dallas Mavericks superstar Luka Doncic wore a Nike Kobe 5 Proto in the “Chaos” colorway and wrote the name of Gigi, who was said to be a fan of his, in his game versus the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Aside from Gigi, Doncic also wrote the names of the other victims on his shoes.
Sacramento Kings guard Buddy Hield, meanwhile, set an NBA career-high 42 points in a 133-122 overtime win over the Minnesota Timberwolves while wearing the Nike Kobe 5 in the “Lakers” colorway.
Hield shot 24 field goals and added 5 rebounds and 3 assists – an interesting line since 24 was the number Kobe wore until he retired while 5 plus 3 equals 8, the number Kobe donned during his early NBA years.
“Everybody knows how much Kobe meant to me in the Bahamas – all the arguments, all the fights I got in to show he’s better than Michael Jordan,” Hield said in the post-game interview.
“It was all for Kobe.”
Elsewhere, Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love sported a Kobe No. 8 jersey pre-game, while Utah Jazz players Royce O’Neale and Georges Niang wore shirts that showed images of the NBA icon.
O’Neale had a shirt showing Kobe wearing a crown, while Niang had Kobe flashing 81, the number of points he scored against the Toronto Raptors in 2006.
NBA coaches Monty Williams of the Suns and Mike Malone of the Denver Nuggets also paid tribute to Bryant by wearing Kobe 4s and 5s, respectively.
Here are other players who honored Kobe and Gianna in style:
Isaiah Thomas, Washington Wizards
Tyler Herro, Miami Heat
Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers