Kobe Bryant

Oregon baseball to pay tribute to the Altobelli family throughout the 2020 season

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Oregon baseball to pay tribute to the Altobelli family throughout the 2020 season

The Oregon baseball family is still in mourning.

Oregon baseball alum J.J. Altobelli lost his dad John, stepmom Keri and 14-year-old sister Alyssa on January 26 in a tragic helicopter crash with Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna.

To honor the Altobelli family, the Ducks will observe 14 seconds of silence before their season opener against Arizona State in Tempe on Friday and again in their first home game against Nevada on Feb. 21 at PK Park. 14 is the number J.J’s dad, John, wore when he played at the University of Houston in 1984 and 1985 and as a coach at Oregon Coast College.

Oregon players will wear decals on their batting helmets with three sets of initials (JA, KA, AA) throughout the 2020 season.

The Ducks will also recognize the Altobelli family at a home game later this season. J.J., his fiancé Carly and his 16-year-old sister Lexi are expected to be in attendance.

“At the proper time, one that will be determined through ongoing discussions between J.J. and our staff, we will do what’s right to help in the healing process,” Oregon head coach Mark Wasikowski said via a statement. “What that specifically looks like will become clear in the coming days, but J.J., Lexi, and Carly will always be entrenched members of the Oregon Duck family.”

There are multiple funds setup to support the Altobelli family. Donations can be made via the attached story below. 

The night the world honored Kobe: One nobody could prepare for, but everyone could cherish

The night the world honored Kobe: One nobody could prepare for, but everyone could cherish

LOS ANGELES -- Wearing a #24 Kobe Bryant jersey, a young fan stood outside Staples Center next to one of the signs where fans were given a chance to write messages to the late Kobe Bryant. 

With a black sharpie in his hand and tears streaming down his face, he stood there.   

He couldn’t have been more than eight years old.

Through his tears, he yelled back towards his mom, “I don’t know what to write. I don’t know what to write!”

In this heart wrenching moment, hours before tip-off of Friday night’s Lakers and Blazers game, it reminds us all how sometimes there are truly no words to describe what someone is going through. 

This young Kobe fan couldn’t have been old enough to see very many of Kobe’s final games in the NBA. Yet, clearly, Bryant had a huge impact on him. 

He wasn’t the only one who struggled to prepare for Friday.

The Lakers organization honored Kobe 30 minutes before tip-off and as the Blazers said, it was ‘phenomenal,’ and ‘great.’

But, it also meant Portland had to put its emotions behind them and go out and compete.

And that they did.

The Blazers beat the best team in the NBA, defeating the Lakers 127-119, behind another out of this world performance from Damian Lillard.

The entire day, though, felt out of this world.

Kobe’s tribute night will forever be a night that players, fans, coaches, and everyone in between will never forget.

It’s tough from an emotional standpoint, but he’s worthy, more than worthy. That type of love, that type of respect, and that type of honor that was given to him in the first game since it happened. It was only right. Compared to what his family has to deal with it, his closest friends have to do, us having to honor him in that way and then play a game is a small thing. -- Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard   

Lillard’s running mate CJ McCollum added 19 points and six rebounds in the win.

Despite how difficult it was, McCollum knew that they had to still do their job.

They had to be dialed in, to truly honor Kobe.

“It was very tough, very tough to go out there and play after that ceremony, but you’ve got to do your job, and make sure you don’t do a disservice to Kobe and his family and we honor him by going and playing hard, and I think we did that,” McCollum said.

“No, there’s no way to prepare for this. You just enjoy the moment, take some time to reflect, and then try to go play,” McCollum said.  

While, Lillard dubbed the tribute as Kobe being worthy of such an honor, McCollum said the ceremony was appropriate for a man that has done so much, and not just in the basketball community.

It was great, it was phenomenal, like LeBron says -- it was a celebration of a great person, a great man who has done a lot to change not only the basketball world, but the world in general. I thought it was appropriate for him and his family and all the ones that were lost -- Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum

Let's also discuss:  “Kobe... to Shaq!!”

That is a phrase that people have imprinted in the brains, especially in Rip City.

But, for Hassan Whiteside, there was a day when he pretended that he was Shaquille O’Neal and his teammate was Kobe.

That was just one memory that ran through Whiteside's mind during Friday’s tribute.

“I was trying to hold back tears,” Whiteside said.  “Just growing up with a Kobe poster, watching him play through all the years with Shaq. My teammate [was] Kobe, I [was] Shaq, just growing up.”

Whiteside continued, “It’s unreal. Some people you think is invincible, he’s definitely one of them. The world lost a superhero for sure.”

During Portland’s three game winning streak, Trevor Ariza has been a big contributor.

He spoke for the first time about Kobe since the fatal helicopter crash.  

It was very tough, very, very hard. We spent a lot of time together. We talked a lot, even after we weren’t teammates. He was a like a brother to me, just like a big brother… I don’t know what else to say. – Trail Blazers veteran Trevor Ariza

As Ariza tried to hold back tears in the locker room, next to him stood Anfernee Simons.

Simons was looking at the night through a different lens.

It was definitely a sad day, but it’s also a day we celebrate his legacy and his life. You’ve just got to look at it that way, and just go out there and play for him, go out there and compete, play hard, that’s the only thing he would want.  -- Trail Blazers guard Anfernee Simons said postgame

Those are some very wise words from the young man.

Emotions did, however, spill over into the game.

Or, at least there was some real frustration shown midway through the third quarter when Lillard was charged with a technical foul after arguing with the officials on what he believed should’ve been a foul called.

But, Blazers fans knew what that meant.

Lillard gets mad.

Lillard gets going.

The All-Star point guard scored 23 points and was 6-of-7 from three in the third quarter to bring his third quarter total to 42 points. He added three rebounds and three assists in the quarter. 

There’s a simple way of describing Lillard’s third quarter performance – just ask Anfernee Simons:

“Going bananas. When he gets in that mode there’s not much you can do.”

Lillard went bananas, alright. He finished with 48 points, 10 assists, and nine rebounds.

“He’s been killing. He’s locked in, he’s efficient. He’s playing at an elite level,” McCollum said.

Simons added, “He’s been playing unbelievable, just doing it all. He just goes out there and doing what he does. It’s been fun watching him play like that.”

Lillard with the Mamba Mentality is the most fitting way to end the Kobe Day.

But, just because the big night is over, obviously, it doesn’t mean LA and the rest of the world won’t continue to honor the late Kobe Bryant.

Like Whiteside said, there could really be an infinite number of tributes for the legend that wore both #8 and #24.  

“They did a great job with the tribute, and they did the most they could in the time frame they could. We could do a lifelong tributes for Kobe,” Whiteside said.

As for that young Kobe fan, he will have a lifetime to think of his message to his idol, but right now there are still no words.  Just memories.

It was Kobe Bryant's night, but it wasn't a Laker who played like Kobe

It was Kobe Bryant's night, but it wasn't a Laker who played like Kobe

LOS ANGELES -- They showed up in the Staples Center, or watched on national television, to honor Kobe Bryant. The game Friday night was almost secondary. In fact, it was all about Kobe Bryant.

Except to the Portland Trail Blazers, who marched into downtown LA and stole a 127-119 win over the Lakers.

Suddenly hot Portland won its third straight game and fourth in its last five:

And once again, it was Damian Lillard doing the heavy lifting.

Lillard was already off to a big start in this game but in the third quarter, he felt he was fouled -- but nothing was called. He went ballistic on referee Matt Boland, He said later he wanted a technical foul but Boland waited for the Lakers to get off a three-point shot (which missed) before assessing it.

That really irritated Lillard.

“He waited and gave them a chance to score,” Lillard said. “You call it when it happens or you don’t call it at all.”

But that pushed Lillard’s hot button and he went on one of those rampages we’ve seen very often recently.

He threw down a ferocious dunk, knocked down a 30-foot pullup jumper, a 27-footer for a three, a free throw, fed Hassan Whiteside for a dunk, hit a 29-foot three, tipped in a miss, before finally missing a 20-footer.

But then he knocked down another three from 31 feet and fed Caleb Swanigan for a layup.

In the third quarter, he made six of his seven shots from distance, eight of 11 overall, scored 23 points and had three assists.

It was the very definition of taking over a game.

He finished the night with 48 points, 10 assists and 9 rebounds, sinking 17 of 30 shots. In the same game as LeBron James, he was the best player on the floor.

James scored 22 while Anthony Davis carried Los Angeles with 37 points.

But one of the key Portland players all night scored only two points. And that was Trevor Ariza, who had five steals, three assists, no turnovers and solid defense on James in 39:04.

“Scoring isn’t the only way to impact a game,” Ariza said. “We have unbelievable scorers on this team. For me, I learned early that in order to help your team win, you have to do other things. For me tonight, I had a huge matchup. I had to focus as much as I can and lock in as much as possible.”

Ariza’s contributions have not gone unnoticed by his teammates.

“Huge impact,” Lillard said. “At both ends of the floor. The understanding, the experience, defense, the activity, the veteran energy in the locker room has just been great.”

Whiteside, who missed just one of his 14 shots, had 12 rebounds, five blocks and scored 30 points, even added a fallaway, Kobe-esque jumper from the baseline with 52.3 seconds left to put the game away. And he mentioned Ariza immediately.

“Adding Trevor increased our defense, exponentially,” Whiteside said.

And this was a difficult night for Ariza, who won a championship with Bryant for the Lakers and was very close to him. Post-game Friday was the first time he has talked with the media about that relationship.

And all the pre-game festivities made it a difficult night.

“It was very tough,” Ariza said. “Very, very, very hard. We spent a lot of time together. Talked a lot, even after we weren’t teammates. And he was like a brother to me. Just like a big brother.”

The Blazers came into this game as 12-point underdogs and this was a game that seemed the Lakers’ destiny to win. The best tribute to Bryant, one of the game’s great winners, would have been a win over a team that brought a 21-27 record into the game, right? But Portland just didn’t let that happen.

And with all due respect, if anyone played like Kobe Bryant Friday night, he wasn’t wearing a Laker uniform.

He was that man on the other side named Damian Lillard.

Instant Analysis: It was the Dame Takeover Friday night in LA

Instant Analysis: It was the Dame Takeover Friday night in LA

LOS ANGELES – Emotions and buckets.

In their first game back since the shocking death of Kobe Bryant, the Lakers hosted the Trail Blazers.

But, before the game tipped off, the Lakers organization put together a touching and inspiring tribute, honoring the Laker Legend.

The tribute started with a special version of Amazing Grace sung by Usher, followed by Ben Hong playing his rendition of ‘Hallelujah’ at center court with a video tribute on the big screen. And finally, LeBron James took the court to address Laker Nation from the heart

Just minutes after the tribute and celebration of life concluded, the Lakers and Blazers tipped off.

With not knowing what to expect from either team after such an emotional pregame, both teams came out ready to play.

Portland was without Carmelo Anthony, who is not with the team because of personal reasons.

Despite being down a starter and having to navigate through their emotions, Portland hung around all game.  

FINAL BOX SCORE: TRAIL BLAZERS 127, LAKERS 119

Here are three quick takeaways from the event from the NBC Sports team that was on site for the game:

Dwight Jaynes, Insider:

Trevor Ariza was terrific on LeBron,.. and Trent was very valuable making shots off the bench, Blazers were terrific all night.

Jamie Hudson, Reporter:  

What a night it was under the lights of Staples Center.

The players did their best to honor Kobe the best way they knew how: Go out and play hard. Friday’s game did not disappoint. In the first half alone, there were 14 lead changes and the game was tied 10 different times in the half. Both Portland and LA shot the ball well. But, in the third quarter, Los Angeles got to see how Damain Lillard can takeover games. Dame's tear continues on the night that the world honored Kobe in the house he built. 

Chris Burkhardt, Producer:

This game wasn't about basketball. It didn't matter who won or lost, but seeing these two teams on the court, regardless of the outcome, was therapeutic for thousands.

The emotions in the building were like nothing I've ever experienced before. From a tear-jerking pregame performance of "Amazing Grace" by Usher, to an equally emotional halftime performance of "See You Again" by Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth, this game was like nothing we've experienced before.

The game felt like a dream, but it was reality.

The Lakers lost a legend, the Bryant family lost a husband and father, but through basketball his memory will live on forever.

Basketball, how the Blazers played, did they win or lose? We won't worry about that tonight. This one was all about Kobe. 

Up Next: Portland will play in its second leg of this current back-to-back when the Blazers host the Utah Jazz Saturday night. The Blazers and Jazz tip-off at 7:30pm on NBC Sports Northwest and the MyTeams App.

Check back throughout tonight and tomorrow for more articles and videos from the players!

Kobe Tribute: Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth honor Kobe Bryant with halftime performance of "See You Again"

Kobe Tribute: Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth honor Kobe Bryant with halftime performance of "See You Again"

LOS ANGELES – NBA fans from all over the world have flocked to Los Angeles in recent days to pay honor to the late, great, Kobe Bryant. 

Los Angeles played host to the Blazers on Friday, in what was the first game for the Lakers since the tragic deaths of Kobe and his daughter Gianna Bryant. 

To say the game was emotional is an understatement.

Before the game tipped, Staples Center paid tribute to a Lakers Legend.

Usher started off the tribute by singing a very special rendition of "Amazing Grace,"  Ben Hong followed with a touching rendition of "Hallelujah" accompanied by a tribute video, and Boyz-II-Men ended the pregame ceremony with the singing of "The Star Spangled Banner." 

But the star performances didn't end there. 

At Halftime, Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth took to the court and honored Kobe Bryant with an emotional performance of the hit song, "See You Again"

There wasn't a dry eye in the house. 

WATCH THE FULL PERFORMANCE HERE: 

 

Kobe Tribute: LeBron James goes off script, addresses Laker Nation from the heart

Kobe Tribute: LeBron James goes off script, addresses Laker Nation from the heart

LOS ANGELES – NBA fans from all over the world have gathered both around and in Staples Center to honor the late Kobe Bryant. Friday’s game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Trail Blazers is the Lakers first game back since the sudden death of Kobe and his daughter Gigi.  

Throughout the week, former NBA players, either teammates or rivals of Kobe, have spoken about how tough the sudden loss has been for them.  

Following a special version of Amazing Grace sung by Usher and then Ben Hong playing his rendition of ‘Hallelujah’ at center court with a video tribute on the big screen, LeBron James took the microphone.

With all eyes on LeBron as he stood at midcourt in front of a sold-out crowd at Staples Center with the overflow of media members both locally and nationally also in attendance, LeBron spoke from the heart.  

So in the words of Kobe Bryant, Mamba out. But in the words of us, not forgotten. Live on brother. – Lakers All-Star LeBron James

Teams will wear Kobe and Gianna Bryant's numbers in the NBA All-Star Game in their honor

Teams will wear Kobe and Gianna Bryant's numbers in the NBA All-Star Game in their honor

Thursday, the NBA announced major changes to the format of the All-Star game in honor of Kobe Bryant who passed away in a helicopter accident Sunday morning along with his daughter Gianna and seven others in Los Angeles.

One day later, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports that in addition to the format changes, the teams will wear the numbers 24 and 2 in honor of Kobe and Gianna Bryant.  

Team LeBron James will wear No. 2 for Gianna Bryant, Kobe's 13-year old daughter who played AAU basketball and aspired to follow in her father's footsteps. Team Giannis Antetokounmpo will wear No. 24 in honor of Kobe who wore it for the later part of his legendary NBA career. 

The teams will also wear nine stars patched on their jerseys to honor the nine victims from the helicopter crash.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard was named an All-Star reserve Thursday evening and will play in the event. Which jersey number he'll wear will be determined at the All-Star draft on February 6th. The All-Star game will be played on February 16th. 

How to watch, stream Trail Blazers vs. Lakers tonight at 7:00pm

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How to watch, stream Trail Blazers vs. Lakers tonight at 7:00pm

The Trail Blazers (21-27) will visit the Los Angeles Lakers (36-10) Friday night in the Lakers first game since Kobe Bryant’s unexpected passing.

Hundreds of people have gathered in the courtyard of LA Live right outside of the Staples Center all week long.

You can watch all the pregame tribute to Kobe along with the all the action between the Blazers and Lakers on NBC Sports Northwest, the Official Network of the Portland Trail Blazers and you can stream the game on our website or by downloading the MyTeams app!

And, have you heard about Blazers Pass?

You can get 15 live Trail Blazers games, pre and postgame shows, and on-demand full-game replays with Blazers Pass! (Only available to fans located in Blazers Territory, pursuant to NBA rules and agreements. No TV provider required. Subscription Period: November 4, 2019 - April 16, 2020. Subscription auto-renews prior to start of next season.)

Don't miss any of the coverage of tonight's game:

4:30pm Blazers Game Day with Chad Doing

6:00pm Blazers Warm-Up

6:30pm Trail Blazers Pregame Show

7:00pm Trail Blazers vs. Lakers

After the game catch Blazers Outsiders with hosts Joe Simons and Dan Marang!

And, full coverage of the game from Dwight JaynesJamie Hudson and our digital team. Follow us on social throughout the night for the latest updates. 

QUOTABLE

It’s going to continue to be tough. I was sitting at home yesterday and watching a TV show and then for like a split second, I just randomly think about it, it’s just disturbing. I think when we get to Staples it’s just going to continue. It’s just going to kind of maybe set in a little bit harder because that’s his house.” – Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard on earlier this week on the unexpected death of Kobe Bryant  

They gather at LA Live to pay tribute to Kobe, and try to deal with their grief

They gather at LA Live to pay tribute to Kobe, and try to deal with their grief

LOS ANGELES -- They came, presumably, from all over southern California. Bearing gifts. They carefully presented what they brought next to the things others had brought before them.

Hundreds of people were here late in the 4 o’clock hour Thursday afternoon, gathered in a courtyard of LA Live, the entertainment district adjacent to the Staples Center.

They came for Kobe Bryant.

To say good-bye, to pay their last respects, to honor him -- or just to be near others who felt his loss the same as they did:

Deep. Hard. Heavy.

Many of them were talking softly to others or on their phones, but it was as quiet as a milling crowd that large could ever be.

“I couldn’t believe it…” was heard many times. “I still can’t believe it… I loved him… He meant so much…”

These weren’t celebrities or former teammates. Many of these people -- probably MOST of these people -- had never met him, talked to him or even watched him play basketball in person.

But they were here mourning, as most of this very big city seems to be doing.

I’m not sure if being here helped them. But for many, it was all they could think of doing. It was a gesture. A symbol. Just a way of showing how much they cared.

As were the treasures they brought. Some of them were surprising: Official NBA basketballs, autographed. replica uniform tops, bobblehead dolls, all sorts of items with Bryant’s picture or autograph on them. Others brought balloons, pictures or hand-written notes to him, Some just brought their tears.

Small tributes, but big memories. Tokens of appreciation and love for more than just a superstar basketball player, And nobody knows the player, the man, the father and the icon that was known simply as "Kobe" better than this city, where he spent his entire NBA career.

Many people were using chalk, crayons or even some form of paint, to write messages on the cement pavement. Notes to their hero. Things, no doubt, they wished they could have said to him in person.

No one told them to come here. It just began to happen Sunday night following the helicopter crash that stole the life of Bryant, his daughter and seven others.

This monument has built on its own momentum. Nobody is quite sure how big it will get and when it will end. They just keep coming, with a huge crowd expected Friday night when the Lakers play the Trail Blazers in Staples Center. There will be tributes during and before that game, of course. But I'm not sure they will be any more heartfelt and genuine than what I saw Thursday afternoon near the arena.

There is no end in sight, certainly, to the grief.

The City of Angels is hurting. And in their own way, the people of Los Angeles -- and the rest of the basketball world -- are trying to deal with it.

Trail Blazers preparing ‘to play with a heavy heart’ in Kobe's house

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Trail Blazers preparing ‘to play with a heavy heart’ in Kobe's house

How does one prepare for a game like Friday night?

Is it even humanly possible?

With the NBA postponing Wednesday’s Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers game, following the devastating loss of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven others, the Trail Blazers will now be the first team the Lakers will face since the tragedy.   

According to a release from the NBA, the decision was “made out of respect for the Lakers organization, who is deeply grieving the tragic loss…”

In the last two weeks, the Blazers have been feeling as though they are playing some of their best basketball. Portland is coming off a 125-112 victory over Houston.

But, as Portland head coach Terry Stotts discussed after Wednesday’s win, Friday will be difficult and there’s really no way to know how players are going to react.

“It’s probably going to be a tough night for a lot of people, it’s going to be an interesting night. It will be interesting to see how it evolves,” Stotts said.

Damian Lillard, who recorded his first triple-double of his career in the win over Houston, continues to struggle with Kobe’s passing.

“I think it’s something that we’re all disturbed by… I think it’s going to continue to hit hard. Lose one of our peers for a lot of us, a friend, and a legend to our game at such a young age, coming off the end of his career -- it’s just hard to even think about,” Lillard said after Tuesday’s practice.  

“It’s going to continue to be tough. I was sitting at home yesterday and watching a TV show and then for like a split second, I just randomly think about it, it’s just disturbing. I think when we get to Staples it’s just going to continue. It’s just going to kind of maybe set in a little bit harder because that’s his house.” – Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard said this week

A legend to the game...

In his house…

All eyes will be on Staples Center Friday night before the game tips off.

Nobody has any doubt that the Lakers pregame tribute to Kobe will be extremely special.

It’s been four days since the unthinkable helicopter crash, and many are still in disbelief.

Trail Blazers veteran Trevor Ariza, who has not addressed the media about Kobe, is continuing to cope with everything.

Friday night will likely be an emotional one for the city of Los Angeles and sports fans all over the world.

People have been gathering outside of Staples Center all week long as fans pay tribute to the Lakers Legend.

After talking with the Blazers, it’s apparent they are all trying their best to prepare for Friday’s emotional day.

But, you can hear it in their voice; it’s something they can’t predict how they’ll feel.

Just as Carmelo Anthony said, “you just don’t know how you’re going to respond to that. You don’t know what triggers what. I don’t think grieving has a time, right? Anything can trigger.”

Lillard added, “It’s just a really, really sad situation… I think when you get in his building, with his team -- when you think Lakers, you think Kobe, they going to be doing a tribute for him, first game, it’s going to be really emotional… There’s no denying it, and there’s no way around it, so that’s what it’s going to be.”

McCollum says he has no idea how the team will be able to cope with everything Friday night, but says as a professional athlete, it’s their job to find a way. 

“We’re just gonna go out there and try to do our jobs the best of our ability, understanding that it’s going to be an emotional night, everybody’s going to be playing with a heavy heart. That’s part of your job to figure out how to get through it,” McCollum said.