SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — A touching tribute to honor NBA legend Kobe Bryant played during the Kings versus Lakers game Saturday and hundreds chanted his name.
“Had to rock the Kobe jersey today,” Lakers fan Derek Anderson told FOX40.
The tribute brought out heavy emotions during the first timeout.
“I’ve been a huge Kobe fan. He’s the reason I first started watching basketball,” said Anderson.
One fan drove to Sacramento from Modesto and says he shares a connection with his favorite player.
“My birthday is Aug. 24, so 8/24. So, It really holds deep to me,” said fan Todd Phan.
Diehard Lakers fans are still devastated by the loss of their idol.
“I just dropped my phone. I was like no way,” said fan Carlos Sulami.
Fans were also devastated by the loss of Gianna Bryant and the other seven passengers.
“Then we found out about Gigi and the rest of the victims, it was like the hardest thing in the world,” said Phan.
Sacramento Kings Coach Luke Walton remembers Kobe and his love for the game.
“I truly believe the best way to honor and to continue healing is to compete and keep giving everything you have to the game,” said Walton.
It’s something fans say they hope to see from the Lakers – that Mamba mentality. The mentality that Kobe carried throughout the span of his 20-year career.
“Keep playing the way they’ve been playing. Keep their heads up. I know it’s hard. It’s a tough loss for everyone, especially with Gigi and everything,” said Anderson.
An important quote was shared before the game letting fans know Saturday wasn’t about which team won — the Lakers or the Kings.
“It’s not about the rivalry but honoring Kobe.”
— Charmaine Nero (@CNeroTV) February 2, 2020