Los Angeles Lakers are closer after Kobe Bryant tragedy

(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
(Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Los Angeles Lakers have gotten closer as a result of the tragedy involving Kobe Bryant over the weekend.

Things have been difficult for the Los Angeles Lakers in the last few days. While the basketball community and the world as a whole are still recovering from the tragic incident on Sunday morning involving Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people, the Lakers have really struggled.

Bryant played his whole 20-year career in the purple and gold of the Lakers. That is enough of a reason for the organization to take a little longer to recover, but there is even more to it.

Bryant’s agent and current vice president of basketball operations and general manager of the team, Rob Pelinka, is Gianna’s godfather. The team had their game against the LA Clippers, scheduled for Tuesday, postponed indefinitely as the organization was not ready to host a game.

This is a tragedy that has rocked the organization as a whole. Players were very emotional in the last few days, sharing social media posts and being present at memorials near STAPLES Center.

While it would be understandable if the team takes a little while to find their groove again, head coach Frank Vogel believes his team has become even closer as a result of the horrible tragedy.

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"“I don’t think it can break us apart in any way,” Vogel said Wednesday following the Lakers’ first full practice since learning of the helicopter crash that killed Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others Sunday.“It’s just strengthened what we’ve felt all year about our current group, which is we’ve become a family in a very short time,” Vogel said. “And it’s something you talk about in the NBA with your teams, but this group in particular has really grown to love each other very rapidly. And we understand the importance and the opportunity that we have this year, and this has just brought us closer together.”"

Wednesday was the first time that the Lakers were back on the court together since their game Saturday against the Philadelphia 76ers, where they wrapped up their five-game Grammy road trip. The team’s practice was canceled Monday prior to Tuesday’s cancellation.

Vogel was the only person in the organization that spoke with the media on Wednesday. He told the players that they can speak when they are ready, but not before that. Some of them have made social media posts but have not said anything publicly.

Vogel was complimentary of his two superstars, LeBron James and Anthony Davis, however. He said the two have showcased the same leadership following Sunday’s accident as they did prior to it. Everyone mourns differently and it is an extremely difficult situation, but knowing your leaders are still doing their jobs is encouraging.

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The Lakers are off again today before hosting the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night. That will assuredly be an emotional evening for everyone involved, as it will be the first time the Lakers are taking the court since Bryant’s death.