Sunday evening's game between the Knicks and the Nets at Madison Square Garden started in unique fashion, with both teams honoring the late NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
After an initial TMZ report and later confirmation from authorities earlier in the afternoon that the former Lakers star died in a helicopter crash that killed him and his daughter Gianna among nine casualties in Calabasas, California, New York's two teams started the game with a touching tribute.
Jarrett Allen won the opening tip against Taj Gibson and Spencer Dinwiddie brought the ball across the half-court line as the Nets held for all 24 seconds and took a shot-clock violation. As chants of "Kobe" broke out from the crowd on hand at MSG, the Knicks did the same on the ensuing possession, with Elfrid Payton walking the ball up past the logo and holding for 24 seconds.
Bigger than basketball.- NEW YORK KNICKS (@nyknicks) January 26, 2020
For 2️⃣4️⃣ pic.twitter.com/0TEaWESZuo
Bryant, who starred for the Lakers as an 18-time All-Star and five-time NBA champion in 20 seasons, wore Nos. 8 (1996-06) and 24 (2006-16). Both numbers were retired by the Lakers shortly after he announced his retirement.
Bryant died at the age of 41. His second-oldest daughter Gianna was 13. He and his daughter were reportedly on their way to the Bryant-owned Mamba Academy in nearby Thousand Oaks, California.
They are survived by Vanessa Bryant, 37, Kobe's wife and Gianna's mother. The Bryant family includes daughters Natalia, Bianka and Capri. Natalia and Bianka are 17 and 3 years old, while Capri was born seven months ago.