A minute’s silence will be observed at Sunday’s National League match between the Scotts Lakers and the Portlaoise Panthers in memory of legendary Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who died in tragic circumstances last weekend.
Bryant, 41, and eight other people, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, were killed in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday. The 18-time All-Star and five-time NBA champion was considered by many to be one of the greatest basketballers of all time.
Since his death, tributes have poured in for the Philadelphia native with players and supporters worldwide honouring his legacy in a wide variety of ways. In the NBA on Sunday, teams began their games by intentionally taking 24-second shot clock violations (Bryant wore No. 24 in the second part of his career having first worn No. 8) and players from a number of rival teams changed their own numbers from 8 and 24, unofficially retiring the Lakers legend’s number in the process.
The Dallas Mavericks, a club Bryant never played for, announced on Monday that none of their players would ever wear No. 24 again.
In another touching gesture, many supporters around the world have left basketballs outside their front doors in Kobe’s memory.
Basketball Ireland confirmed on Tuesday that a minute’s silence would be observed at all club and schools games up until Sunday evening “in honour of Kobe Bryant, his daughter and all of the people involved in the recent tragedy. Kobe Bryant has been an inspiration to a generation of Irish basketballers.”
Scotts Lakers’ American guard Aaron Jackson posted a picture on Twitter of his Nike Kobe basketball shoes with ‘RIP Bean’ (Bryant’s nickname) written in marker on the heel.
Cant Believe I Had To Put RIP Kobe, On My Kobe’s. Someone wake me up. pic.twitter.com/xczreODM75
— Jack (@SwaggyJackJr10) January 27, 2020
Jackson’s compatriot and Lakers teammate Xavier Talton also paid tribute to Bryant on Instagram.
“This one hurts… You played a huge impact on me coming up in this game. Embodied everything it meant to have work ethic, character, passion, drive… Rest easy with your daughter. My thoughts and prayers are with your family and the families of the other individuals who passed.”
It’s a big weekend for Killarney’s Lakers who are facing into a tricky double-header against Tolka Rovers and the Portlaoise Panthers. With their closeset rivals, Fr Mathews, only playing once this week, Shane McCarthy’s side will move into second if they can defeat both Tolka away on Saturday and the Panthers at home the day after.
Tip-off in Killarney on Sunday is at 3pm.