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NBA Teams Found a Fitting Way to Honor Kobe

They dribbled out shot clock in honor of No. 24
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 27, 2020 1:32 AM CST
Toronto Raptors players huddle together following a moment of silence for Kobe Bryant before an NBA basketball game against the San Antonio Spurs in San Antonio, Sunday, Jan. 26, 2020.   (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
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(Newser) – Shocked and saddened NBA teams paid tribute to Kobe Bryant on Sunday night, hours after learning that the basketball great had died along with daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash. Teams including the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors allowed the 24-second shot clock to expire on their first possessions in honor of the retired No. 24, ESPN reports. Fans gave the tributes standing ovations. "Everybody is pretty emotional about the tragedy with Kobe," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "All of us know what a great player he was, but he went beyond great playing, he was a competitor, that goes unmatched." He added: "We all feel a deep sense of loss for what he meant to all of us in so many ways."

In Portland, Damien Lillard had 50 points in the Trail Blazers' 139-129 win over the Indiana Pacers, but he said his mind wasn't on the game, the AP reports. "I think it was the right decision for us to go out there and compete today in his honor. I think that's what he would have wanted," Lillard said. "Obviously, throughout the game you think about it. The timeouts, and just random dead moments of the game, he's on your mind, because it's just such an unfortunately sad situation. It was a tough game to play as far as your energy and where your heart is, to say the least." In New York, Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said the organization was "devastated" and guard Kyrie Irving, who had been very close to Bryant, was too grief-stricken to play. (Read more Kobe Bryant stories.)

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