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#pounditThursday, January 20, 2022

Gianna Bryant’s teammates sit front row for first Lakers game since tragedy

Sunday’s helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. that left nine people dead has had a huge impact worldwide, and especially affected the members of Gianna Bryant’s Mamba Academy basketball team.

Those aboard the helicopter were headed to Kobe Bryant’s Mamba Academy in Thousand Oaks, Calif. for a basketball event involving Gigi’s team. Three players from the team were on the helicopter — Gigi, Payton Chester, Alyssa Altobelli — as well as parents (Kobe, Sarah Chester, John and Keri Altobelli), and coach Christina Mauser. Pilot Ara Zobayan was also killed in the crash.

The Lakers on Friday night played their first game since the tragedy, and members of the team sat in the front row.

The Lakers held a pregame ceremony honoring all the victims. Usher, Boyz II Men and Ben Hong all performed. LeBron James delivered a heartfelt speech. The whole thing was so surreal and had multiple players crying. And then the Lakers and Trail Blazers went out to play a game.

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