Kobe and Gigi Bryant Honored With Heartbreaking Courtside Tribute at First Lakers Game Since Their Deaths

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The Los Angeles Lakers are honoring the late, great Kobe Bryant.

After postponing their game against the Los Angeles Clippers earlier this week, the Lakers got back on the court to pay tribute to the NBA legend during their Friday game at Staples Center against the Portland Trail Blazers. Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, along with seven others, died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday. To pay respect to the basketball star, the Staples Center's entire court was dedicated to Bryant.

The team began their warm ups Friday evening wearing Bryant's two numbers, 8 and 24. Gianna's, as well as Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester's, who also died in the accident, teammates sat courtside.

Gianna Bryants Teammates Lakers Game
Harry How/Getty Images

Before the game kicked off, Usher took the court to sing a beautiful rendition of "Amazing Grace," with two purple-and-yellow floral arrangement of Bryant's numbers. The crowd was visibly emotional and crying during the song, as the screens flashed videos of Bryant, NBA players paying their respects, and the words "RIP Kobe."

Following Usher's performance, a cellist played "Hallelujah," while video of Bryant  talking about his passion for basketball, his family and life. 

The announcer then took a moment to remember every single person who died on Sunday: Kobe, Gianna, Alyssa, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli, Payton, Sarah Chester, Christina Mauser and Ara Zobayan. They then had a 24-second moment of silence before Boyz II Men, wearing Bryant's numbers, sang the National Anthem. 

LeBron James then took the stage to give a touching speech dedicated to the former Laker.  

One of the most heartbreaking tribute were two courtside seats that had Bryant and his daughter's jerseys and roses on them.

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Both his number 24 and number 8 jerseys were draped across every chair at the venue. 

The center of the court also had a black logo with KB on it, and the sidelines had Bryant's numbers 8 and 24 on them. 

The players also wore jerseys with a black patch that has KB on them.

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The Lakers locker room also had one of Bryant's jerseys up. 

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At halftime, Wiz Khalifa and Charlie Puth performed "See You Again," in honor of the lives lost. 

ET learned earlier in the day that Trail Blazer Carmelo Anthony would not be playing in Friday's game. A source told ET that the 35-year-old NBA star opted to miss the game with his team because "it's too hard for him" after Bryant’s death.

Since his tragic death, Los Angeles natives, as well as people all over the world, have been mourning Bryant. The athlete's former teammates, including Shaquille O'Neal, Derek Fisher and Lamar Odom, shared heartbreaking messages. Also affected by his death was LeBron James, who was seen breaking down in tears after hearing the sad news.

On Monday, James -- who became a Laker after Bryant retired -- broke his silence on Bryant's death. "I’m Not Ready but here I go. Man [I'm] sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had!" James wrote in part. "I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn’t think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we’d have. WTF!!"

James, as well as Anthony Davis, recently got tattoos in honor of Bryant.

Lakers coach Frank Vogel was also emotional on Wednesday, talking about the team's great loss. Bryant was a Los Angeles Laker his entire 20-year NBA career and was an icon in the Lakers organization, winning five championships. Vogel said the team was obviously "deeply saddened" by his tragic death. He noted that the tragedy has brought the Lakers team closer.

"It's been a deeply saddening time for all of us," Vogel said, noting that now, the focus is on making Bryant proud. "We want to represent what Kobe was about, more than anything. We've always wanted to make him proud, and that's not going to be any different here."

As for Bryant's wife, Vanessa, she posted a photo of the empty seats on her Instagram, thanking the team for their heartfelt tributes.

"There is no #24 without #2. ❤️#GirlDaddy #DaddysGirl #MyBabies ❤️❤️ #OurAngels," she captioned her post.

For more on Bryant's life and legacy, watch below.

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