BOSTON (CBS) — The Boston Celtics will not fly to Portland until late Monday afternoon, giving players a chance to attend the Kobe Bryant memorial that will be held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The Celtics opted to change their travel plans a few weeks ago when the memorial was announced, after Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others tragically died in a helicopter crash last month. Instead of heading to Portland on Monday morning, the team pushed the flight back a few hours to allow players and coaches the opportunity to honor the NBA legend at the ceremony, which will begin at 1 p.m. EST. The Celtics play the Blazers on Tuesday night.
Boston fell to Los Angeles on Sunday, 114-112, in a game that carried a playoff feel for 48 minutes. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, who grew up idolizing Bryant and trained with him two summers ago, wore a purple wristband during Sunday’s game. He scored 41 points for Boston in the loss.
“I’m really glad I’ll have an opportunity to go to the memorial,” Tatum told the Boston Globe two weeks ago. “It’ll be nice to be there. I’m sure there will be a lot of people there showing their support, and I’m glad I can be one of them.”
According to MassLive.com, the Lakers initially offered the Celtics 10 tickets for Monday’s memorial. But when the team switched up their travel plans to ensure more players could attend, they received a few more tickets.
Celtics legend Bill Russell attended Sunday’s Celtics-Lakers tilt, and honored Bryant by wearing his No. 24 Lakers jersey on the sideline.