Sports

Kobe and Gianna Bryant tragedy: How Lakers and NBA have struggled to cope with losing an icon


USA TODAY draws back the curtain as four of its own recall covering the passing of Kobe Bryant and conducting his final interview just nine days prior.


Gary Vitti, the Los Angeles Lakers’ former longtime head athletic trainer, often heard helicopters and airplanes fly over his home in Manhattan Beach, Calif. because of its proximity to the city’s airports.


Only four years removed from a storied 20-year career with the Lakers, Bryant had cemented a Hall-of-Fame worthy resume by winning five NBA championships, climbing to fourth-place on the league’s all-time scoring list and inspiring the current generation of players.


Lakers coach Frank Vogel plans to give his players the day off before departing from Cleveland to Philadelphia on Tuesday afternoon for Wednesday’s game against the Sixers.


Following Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s passing, the Lakers allowed fans to leave memorabilia and write messages outside of the team’s practice facility in El Segundo.


“As Los Angeles County is currently under a stay at home order, there are no plans to commemorate the anniversary of Kobe and Gianna’s passing onsite,” Staples Center spokesperson Cara Vanderhook told USA TODAY Sports.






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