Before kickoff, a moment of silence was held in honor of the late NBA legend, his daughter and the seven others who tragically passed away last Sunday. An image of the father-daughter duo was displayed for everyone to see, along with the names of the victims.
Moreover, both teams—the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers—lined up on the 24-yard lines.
Kobe, one of the most successful NBA players of all time who spent 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers, and Gianna, one of his four daughters with wife Vanessa Bryant, were traveling last Sunday morning via helicopter to his Mamba Sports Academy, where she was set to play in a basketball game, and where he served as coach. They and seven other people, including the pilot and two other 13-year-old girls who were on her team, were killed when the chopper crashed into a steep hill in Calabasas, CA, about 15 miles away from their destination, amid heavy fog.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell had announced on Wednesday that the organization is planning to honor the late basketball star during football’s biggest night, without elaborating.
Online and other public tributes have been pouring in for the victims of the crash and scores of Laker fans have all week flocked to the hillside where the crash occurred and left flowers and other gifts at a makeshift memorial at a nearby park. Fans have also been mourning Kobe at Staples Center, home of the Lakers, in Downtown Los Angeles.
Fellow retired NBA legends and former Lakers such as Magic Johnson and Shaquille O’Neil, as well as current Lakers star LeBron James have expressed their grief over Kobe’s death and memories of the athlete publicly.
The crash remains under investigation.
Furthermore, Hall of Famer Chris Doleman, was also honored. Doleman passed away on Tuesday of brain cancer.