To commemorate the moment and honor Kobe’s memory, fans will be gifted shirts bearing his jersey numbers, 8 and 24. USA Today’s Sandy Hooper shared the news on Twitter, writing that there will be “one number for each side of Staples Center.”
Adam Grosbard from the O.C. Register also shared an image of the arena prior to the game.
The Lakers also unveiled a court tribute to Kobe, which features his initials and both jersey numbers. "The house that Kobe built," the team included in the Instagram caption.
It's expected to be an emotional night for fans and players alike. In fact, Carmelo Anthony has officially been ruled out for the game, because according to Sham Charania, he's still grieving Bryant's death.
Charania also reports that Bryant and Anthony were set to have dinner on Thursday, and Bryant was expected to attend Friday's game.
Blazers star Damian Lillard shared his own tribute to Kobe ahead of the game. "In his name we play," he wrote on Instagram alongside a photo of him sitting courtside.
The game will unfold after more celebrities and athletes continue to honor Bryant in wake of his passing. Lil Wayne memorialized the late Bryant on the song “Bing James” from his new album, Funeral. The Jay Rock-featuring track ends with 24 seconds of silence, a nod to Kobe's jersey number.
Appearing on Undisputed to promote the album, Wayne again honored Kobe. “You're going to have to do the season for Kobe and dedicate it to him,” he said. “The message that LeBron said, ‘I'm going to go out and do it for you.’ I believe that's the message of every single player in the NBA. That's how they all feel.”
LeBron James also seems to have honored Kobe in his own way, with a new tattoo that looks to be dedicated to the icon. On Thursday, James took to Instagram Live to show that he was in the process of getting some fresh ink in what appears to be the form of a black mamba snake.
Since Kobe’s sudden passing, the Lakers players have yet to speak with the media. Head coach Frank Vogel told reporters on Wednesday that he’s advised them to “speak when you're ready and not before.”