The world is still shaken by the death of Kobe Bryant, an American professional basketball player. News about the legend was even more disturbing to the Boston Celtics, an NBA team that lost to New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday night, according to NBC sports report on January 26, 2020.
Kobe Bryant and Daughter Die in a Helicopter Crash
Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna Bryant died in a helicopter crash along with 7 other people on January 26, 2020. On the same day, a game was played between Boston Celtics and New Orleans Pelicans. While the late Bryant was a player for the Los Angeles Lakers, it is no hidden news that the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers were arch-rivals.
However, Boston Celtics during its game on Sunday with New Orleans Pelicans suffered a 123 -108 loss. Celtics was trailing by 20 points into half time, but they were able to show improved performance by the fourth quarter. However, the Pelicans brought out their big guns in the fourth quarter and it proved very useful given that it ended in a win for them.
The Celtics may have lost, but it also breaks their three-game winning streak. Nonetheless, the 41-year-old's death is more painful compared to the loss of the game. Much more, it was quite disturbing to the entire basketball community.
Right before the game began, Boston Celtics and New Orleans Pelicans honoured Kobe Bryant. A 24-second moment of silence was held for the former NBA player and his daughter. And when the game began, both the Celtics and Pelicans let the shot clock run out in honour of the basketball legend. Reportedly, these were two 24-second violations, but it could be linked to the fact that Bryant wore jersey No. 24.
Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics History
In the 20 years Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics were known to be one of the team's biggest contenders. Their historical rivalry could be traced back to 2008 at the NBA Finals where the two teams met. While the Celtics had won the championship for the year, the Lakers won two years later when the two teams met again.
Despite the rivalry, news about his death was enough to turn the promising game night into a loss. Fans of Boston Celtics noted that Bryant may have been a foe to the Boston Celtics, nonetheless, Boston considered him a true legend.
“It’s shocking. We grew up with him while he was in his heyday...He was one of the best players ever. A true legend,” a Celtic fan said.
In a statement on Instagram, Celtics wrote:
"There are no words that can convey the heartbreak the entire Celtics organisation feels in the wake of the terrible loss of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. Kobe was one of the greatest talents and competitors to ever play basketball and his love of the sport-inspired countless fans and players around the world."
On the same note, Bill Russell, a Celtics legend in a tweet stated that he was"absolutely shocked" by Bryant's demise. The sport's enthusiast also remarked that:
"You were my biggest fan, but I was yours."
Mavericks' Jersey No. 24 Will Always Be Reserved for Kobe Bryant
Mark Cuban, owner of Dallas Mavericks, on the other hand, said the No. 24 jersey will never be worn by any player in the team. Reportedly, Bryant wore jersey No. 24 and No. 8 while with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Doc Rivers, Los Angeles Clippers head coach and Brian Scalabrine, NBC Sports Boston analyst who once battled with Bryant while in the Celtics team also made comments. Rivers, for instance, while on an NBA TV interview said he was devastated by the news. In a tweet, he went further to state that he was overwhelmed with sadness.