As the world mourns the death of Kobe Bryant, who died Sunday in a helicopter crash that killed nine people, honors and tributes have rolled in throughout the past 24 hours to honor the Los Angeles Lakers and NBA legend.
New York has embraced Bryant by honoring him in various ways, and the latest tribute is set to come from an iconic part of the city's identity. The Empire State Building announced it would be lit up in purple and gold Monday night to honor Bryant.
Los Angeles County authorities confirmed Sunday that Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna died in a southern California helicopter crash killing nine people. The flight from Calabasas to nearby Thousand Oaks, where the Bryant-owned Mamba Sports Academy resides, served as transportation for a travel basketball game, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sunday.
Our lights will shine in purple and gold this evening as we pay tribute to basketball legend Kobe Bryant, an inspiration to millions across the globe who was taken too soon. Our hearts go out to all of the families, friends, and fans affected by this tragedy. #824Forever pic.twitter.com/m84TbQ2d3y- Empire State Building (@EmpireStateBldg) January 27, 2020
Just a couple of blocks west of the Empire State Building in Midtown Manhattan, Madison Square Garden honored the Bryant's before, during and after Sunday's game between the Knicks and Nets. While the Knicks won, 110-97, coaches and players from both sides were emotional throughout the evening, where the crowd broke out in "Kobe" chants often.
The Nets won the opening tip and Spencer Dinwiddie held the ball for a 24-second shot-clock violation, and Elfrid Payton did the same for the Knicks on the ensuing possession. Bryant, who was an 18-time All-Star and five-time NBA champion throughout his 20-year career -- all with the Lakers -- from 1996-2016, wore Nos. 8 (1996-06) and 24 (2006-16).
After the game, players on each team fought back tears when discussing what Bryant meant to them, including Dinwiddie, a Los Angeles native who recently shared a personal moment with the Lakers legend. While the NBA announced Monday that it cancelled Tuesday's game between the Lakers and Clippers at Staples Center, some argued whether or not the league should have done the same for Sunday's slate.