It all still feels very strange, but the NBA season is continuing on after the tragic deaths of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others Sunday in a helicopter crash.
We’d normally preview the Sixers’ game tonight against the Warriors in this space, but that feels largely irrelevant in this context. The league postponed the Lakers-Clippers game set for Tuesday, but Sixers vs. Warriors will go on as scheduled.
General manager Elton Brand, one of several Sixers to speak with the media Monday about Bryant’s life, said, “We’ll try to commemorate him tomorrow and hopefully show how much this area loved him and continue to do so.”
💜 It sure looks beautiful inside Wells Fargo Center right now. 💜 pic.twitter.com/wECBcvWBwJ— Serena Winters (@SerenaWinters) January 28, 2020
Teams around the NBA have been honoring Bryant in a variety of ways, including wearing No. 8 and No. 24 uniforms during pregame introductions, and taking eight-second and 24-second violations to begin the game.
Head coach Brett Brown talked about trying to highlight Bryant’s connection to Philadelphia. Bryant was born in this city and played at Lower Merion High School in Ardmore.
That was the thing that always came out when you bumped into him — he was really interested in Philadelphia. He really, for obvious reasons, had a side love for Philadelphia. No matter how much he put on that Laker uniform he talked about the city of Philly. And I feel like for that reason and him growing up in Lower Merion, there’s more to give and more to do appropriately than, say, another organization that doesn’t have that historical reference point.
Brown also discussed how the Sixers will resume the normal operations of playing basketball games.
“I think the simplest way for me to explain it is two things: The difficulty of dealing with it as a personal thing — everyone will deal with it in a way that is appropriate to them,” he said. “As an organization, we’ll provide services to those who need it. And two, the spirit of how he competed might be the connection of moving forward, just moving on. We talked as a team in there. I went around the room, everybody shared their personal story.
“It’s hard to remember if anyone didn’t talk about a maniacal competitor. Maybe that’s the connection of justifying moving on.”
On a basketball note, it is worth mentioning that Joel Embiid is questionable vs. the Warriors and will see a hand surgeon before the game, which will determine his availability. The All-Star center has missed the Sixers’ last nine games after tearing a ligament in the ring finger of his left hand, and the team has gone 6-3 during that stretch.
Zhaire Smith is questionable with a left ankle sprain.
Here is how you you can watch the game:
When: 7 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app
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