As news of Kobe Bryant’s passing rippled through the world on Sunday, many NBA players were left to process the news as they were readying themselves for Sunday’s games. The Houston Rockets were set to play against the Denver Nuggets, and the Toronto Raptors were to square off against the San Antonio Spurs.
Before the Nuggets-Rockets game—the first game of the day—the players bowed their heads for a moment of silence.
P.J. Tucker’s shoes were emblazoned with the handwritten messages, “RIP KB” and “Love You KB24.”
Tyson Chandler was visibly grief-stricken over the loss of his former Team USA teammate. Austin Rivers was emotional as well.
Houston Chronicle writer Jonathan Feigen tweeted about the game’s overall mood, writing, “Players are being pros. They know how to play and they are playing hard. In a lot of ways, it is impressive that they can. But there is no emotion. They are empty.”
To start the Raptors and Spurs game, both teams took “24-second violations in honor of Kobe Bryant,” Los Angeles Times' Dan Woike pointed out. A Kobe chant also broke out.
The same tribute kicked off the start of the Knicks-Nets game.
Similar tributes were occurring across the league as Sunday's games unfolded.
Meanwhile, Kyrie Irving missed the game for what Shams Charania reported were "personal reasons." Charania also pointed out that Irving and Bryant were close.
Doc Rivers broke down while speaking about Kobe’s death, saying, “This is shocking news for all of us. I’m sorry I don’t have a lot to say. I have to go talk to a team before a game and tell them to play a game.”
The National Basketball Players Association also released a statement, writing that they are “stunned and devastated by the sudden passing of Kobe Bryant. Words cannot express his impact on our Players, the NBA, and the game of basketball.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver also released a statement.
As did WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert.
Here's the official statement from USA basketball.
Elsewhere, young basketball players mourned during the Kobe Bryant Calabasas Mamba Cup, which was canceled after the news of his death broke.
And Brazilian soccer player Neymar honored Kobe by “raising the 24” after scoring a goal during a game.
A host of tennis superstars paid homage to Kobe, adding to a variety of tributes coming from outside the basketball world. Roger Federer wore a pair of customized sneakers that honored the late Laker. Nick Kyrgios wore Kobe's number 8 jersey during his Australian Open match against Rafael Nadal while the latter paid his respects by wearing a Nike Lakers hat. Doubles partners Coco Gauff and Caty McNally both had special messages written to Bryant on their shoes. Also, Naomi Osaka penned an open letter to Kobe on her social media.
Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski, who coached the USA team that Kobe played for in 2008, released a statement about "one of the greatest sports figures of our time."
After the Spurs game, head coach Gregg Popovich shared a few words about what made Bryant so memorable in his eyes.
Mark Cuban also announced that the Dallas Mavericks are retiring Kobe's no. 24.
Kobe's former Lakers coach Phil Jackson released a statement discussing his relationship with the Black Mamba which transcended the game of basketball.
The 41-year-old legend and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna died on Sunday in a helicopter crash.