Carmelo Anthony Isn't Playing in First Lakers Game Since Kobe Bryant's Death Due to Grief

Kobe Bryant (L) and NBA player Carmelo Anthony attend the 2016 ESPYS at Microsoft Theater on July 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Carmelo Anthony will not be playing in Friday night's Los Angeles Lakers game against the Portland Trail Blazers.

The game will mark the first Lakers game since Kobe Bryant's tragic death on Sunday after a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. Tuesday's scheduled Lakers vs. Clippers game was canceled by the NBA out of respect for the Lakers organization.

Anthony currently plays for the Trail Blazers. A source tells ET that the 35-year-old NBA star is not playing in Friday's game with his team because "it's too hard for him" after Bryant’s death.

Earlier this week, Anthony posted a picture of himself hugging Bryant on Instagram and shared an emotional message. He said that Bryant told him prior to his death that he was planning to attend Friday's game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

"Damn Bro!! ? I hate when I have so much to say, but I can’t put any of it into words," Anthony wrote. "The times I have the most to say are the times that I can’t talk. I’m screaming inside but I can’t be heard. YOU don’t know how hard it is to try to pretend to smile when I have these clouds of emotions. YOU just called me and told me you were coming to the game Friday and that you were proud of me and 'regardless of anything, stay true to myself and STAYME7O.'"

"We were just laughing about how hard YOU was working GiGi and her teammates and I told YOU they need a day off ??," he continued, referring to Bryant's 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, who also died in the helicopter crash. "This pain is almost unbearable Champ! Why you bro? Why GiGi? Why leave Vanessa with this Sadness and Pain. WHY? This will never make sense to me. I know I’m not suppose to question GODs Will. I know GOD doesn’t make mistakes. It just seems like It always rains the hardest on those who deserve the sun. There are moments in life when there’s simply NO words to describe the pain within. This is one of them. YOU will continue to be Loved. YOU will be missed. YOU will forever be remembered. YOUR legacy will live on FOREVER. OUR FRIENDSHIP will never be forgotten. I know YOU will be near, Even if I don’t see YOU. PEACE KING!!! “There Are No Goodbyes. Where Ever You’ll be, You’ll be in Our Hearts” All Praise Due #STAYME7O."

Anthony's wife, La La, also shared an emotional Instagram message about Bryant's sudden and shocking death.

"My heart is breaking & my stomach is in knots for my friend @vanessabryant," she wrote. "??GOD, I ask that you cover her in strength & comfort her and the girls in a way only you are capable of. Wrap your hands around them tight. I pray for all the families affected. V, I love you deep. My heart, my hands, whatever you may need from me are with & forever...I LOVE YOU❤️

Friday's Lakers game will undoubtedly pay tribute to Bryant, who was a Los Angeles Laker his entire 20-year NBA career and was an icon in the organization, winning five championships. Prior to the game, both Bryant's number 24 and number 8 jerseys were draped across every chair at the Staples Center.

Meanwhile, current Lakers players LeBron James and Anthony Davis recently got tattoos in honor of Bryant. Watch the video below for more:


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