Lillard: “Kobe is gone, this is just basketball”

2020-02-01T08:15:14+00:00 2020-02-01T08:15:56+00:00.

Giannis Askounis

01/Feb/20 08:15

With the match coming second, Damian Lillard guided the Portland Trail Blazers to the win over the Los Angeles Lakers.

By John Askounis/

Challenging evening for players and fans with the Los Angeles Lakers competing for the first time since Kobe Bryant’s death. The Portland Trail Blazers powered by Damian Lillard took the “W” at the Staples Center, but the 29-year-old point American point guard knew beforehand that the 2019-20 NBA Regular Season contest itself was no priority.

“So in the words of Kobe Bryant, ‘Mamba out,” said LeBron James after discarding his original speech, “But in the words of us, `not forgotten.’ Live on, brother.”

The stirring speech was included to the pregame tributes with grieving players really struggling to hold their emotions and digest the tragedy. Highlights from Bryant’s career played during each break.

In tribute to Kobe, opposing teams started off with the 24-second and 8-second clocks violations adding on the worldwide theme of the past days.

Afterwards Lillard scored 48 points setting an NBA record with his fifth consecutive 40-point outing. He also dished out ten assists and gathered nine rebounds guiding the Blazers to victory.

“Nobody is going to win tonight,” he told ESPN during the game. “Kobe is gone. His family isn’t going to get him back. This is just basketball.”

The entire evening was tough, especially for Carmelo Anthony. The Black Mamba’s close friend found himself unable to suit up.

Photo Credit: Getty Images