The news of Kobe Bryant's tragic death on Sunday heavily impacted the NBA, especially for those teams that still had games to play.
The Knicks were among them, taking on the Nets at Madison Square Garden. MSG paid tribute before the game with a moment of silence to go along with lighting up the outside of the arena with purple and gold beams as well as a tribute to Bryant on every monitor surrounding the building.
New York came away with the win over Brooklyn, but it wasn't the game itself that anyone wanted to discuss afterwards. It was all Bryant, an icon, as Marcus Morris Sr. put it in a somber post-game interview.
"It's tough. Kobe was an icon," he said. "He was someone that, growing up as a kid, you always mirrored...Just praying for his family. Praying for the other family that was on there."
"Honestly, I don't think we should have played"- Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) January 27, 2020
Marcus Morris says everyone is devastated over the loss of Kobe Bryant pic.twitter.com/WuX0aLYEe1
Morris talked about having the opportunity to compete against him, but also pointed out some players on the team actually got to play with him. Julius Randle was among them after getting drafted by the Lakers back in 2014.
But Morris didn't hold back his thoughts about the game being played in the first place.
"Honestly, I don't think we should have played. It is what it is," he said, sharing the sentiment of many who believed the NBA should've canceled every game for the day.
Interim head coach Mike Miller addressed the media before the game, saying that Bryant wasn't just impactful over here in the states, but his contribution to the game of basketball for 20 years in the NBA was a global impact. And that was evident in the fans in MSG, who continued to chant his name throughout the night.
"I think we saw New York fans appreciate good basketball and they always respect the great players that come through here," Miller said. "Obviously, the moment of silence, the ovation, both teams taking the 24-second clock down and then how many different times the fans were chanting his name. I just thought that was a really classy tribute by the fans."
Miller continued his post-game interview talking about how his players are deeply saddened by the news, and made note of taking a step back and realizing there is more to life than just basketball.
But tonight, with everyone holding their heads down and praying for the Bryant family and all of those affected, Miller believes his team got the win playing just as Bryant would.
"I would say that it was a tribute to Kobe to go out and play the game" pic.twitter.com/aVvr53z9XU- Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) January 27, 2020
"As we go through this, real-life things are going on," Miller said. "Our locker room had some heavy hearts in there, and they went out and played. I would say that it was a tribute to Kobe to go out and play the game as he would play the game.