Philadelphia 76ers pay tribute to Kobe Bryant during Tuesday's game

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Wednesday, January 29, 2020
76ers honor Kobe with violation, videos, uniforms
The 76ers honored Kobe Bryant, along with the other eight victims who died in a helicopter crash.

PHILADELPHIA -- Two days after the death of Kobe Bryant, emotional tributes to the former Lakers great continued worldwide.

In Bryant's hometown of Philadelphia on Tuesday, the 76ers honored him, along with the other eight victims who died in a helicopter crash Sunday, prior to their game against the Golden State Warriors with a video tribute on the scoreboard and a moment of silence.

The Wells Fargo Center was complete with "33" floor stickers on the sideline, signifying the number Bryant wore at nearby Lower Merion High School.

Leading up to the game, the 76ers took the floor for warm-ups in their traditional "Phila" jerseys that included either the No. 8 or No. 24, which Bryant wore with the Lakers. The teams then took an eight and 24 second violation to start the game.

Philadelphia 76ers' Al Horford, from left, Kyle O'Quinn, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons stand during a tribute for NBA basketball player Kobe Bryant.
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

His framed No. 33 Aces jersey was displayed at midcourt and the Sixers held a 33-second moment of silence of Bryant and the other eight victims in Sunday's crash. The Sixers rang a bell nine times and shone nine lights on the court during the solemn remembrance. The Sixers skipped pregame introductions for both teams and instead played a video of Bryant's last introduction in Philadelphia in a December 2015 game and images of him with Allen Iverson and Julius Erving.

Philadelphia guard Ben Simmons raced out of the locker room, donning those same numbers, as well as "MAMBA FOREVER" and "R.I.P. GIGI" on his sneakers in black marker. Forward Tobias Harris had similar messages on his, "Rest in Peace Kobe" on his right shoe and "Rest in Peace GiGi" on his left.

A tribute for former NBA basketball player Kobe Bryant is seen on the shoe of Philadelphia 76ers' Ben Simmons.
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

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"I was a Lakers fan," Harris said pregame. "Modeling his work ethic inspired my game. When I got to the league, I played against him., we had a couple of conversations in games.

"That, for me, was like a dream come true."

On Monday, Lower Merion, a public high school in Ardmore, a suburban community along Philadelphia's Main Line, began the day with a 33-second moment of silence.

Across the past three days, alumni, fans and friends have come to the school to pay their respects to Bryant. A memorial has been established, complete with flowers, Bryant jerseys -- both Lakers and Lower Merion ones -- candles, teddy bears and basketballs.

Basketball legend Sonny Hill talks with Action News' Jamie Apody on the death of Kobe Bryant.

"Honestly, I didn't realize how much he had impacted my life until I found out the news," local resident DaVonn Grosvenor said Monday. "It's tough when you lose an icon, when you lose a legend. He had so much more to offer. So I just had to come by and pay my respects. The only way I knew how was on the grounds he walked on once upon a time."

Before playing 20 seasons for the Lakers and winning five championship rings, Bryant dominated at Lower Merion. He enrolled there after his family moved back to the United States from Italy, where his father, Joe Bryant, played professional basketball. Before long, he was on his way to being a four-year starter for the Aces, scoring 2,883 points. Now the court that made him the school's leading scorer bears his name as the Bryant Gymnasium.

On Sunday afternoon, Amy Buckman, a representative for the school district, held a news conference on campus, saying Bryant has "raised the profile of our high school and our district throughout the world."

Meanwhile in Los Angeles on Tuesday, admirers from as far away as China continued to crowd the plaza leading to Staples Center for a third day as arena officials opened adjacent Chick Hearn Court to pedestrian traffic to allow the placement of still more memorials of flowers, balloons, photos, paintings, jerseys, hats, basketballs and thousands of heartfelt written messages.

During the Dallas Mavericks' home game against the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, the Mavs' coaching staff wore pins with Nos. 24 and 2 -- the numbers used by Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.On Sunday, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said his team will retire the No. 24 jersey in tribute to Bryant.

In Italy, AC Milan and its fans paid tribute to Bryant with lights and applause before and during Tuesday's Italian Cup game against Torino at the San Siro stadium.

As Milan and Torino warmed up before the game, the words "Legends Never Die" and "SempreKobe" -- a play on the "SempreMilan," or "AlwaysMilan," hashtag often used by the club -- were displayed on the advertising boards around the San Siro while images of Bryant were shown on the giant screen.

Shortly before the teams walked out for the kickoff, the stadium was darkened and the public address announcer paid tribute to Bryant while fans applauded and held up phone lights. The song "Who Wants to Live Forever" by Queen was then played. Both teams also wore black armbands.

ESPN and The Associated Press contributed to this report.