Lakers ‘Keep Things Light’ Ahead of First Game Since Kobe Bryant’s Death

The Los Angeles Lakers will have an emotional night on Friday, January 31 against the Portland Trail Blazers at the Staples Center. The game will mark the Lakers’ first game since the death of future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old Gianna and seven others.

Since learning of the news, Lakers players have not faced the media as they continue to grieve the loss of a man who meant so much to so many people.

And as they prepare to return to the court, head coach Frank Vogel is doing his best to keep things light and fun for the guys. That included an outdoor warmup on Thursday which took place at a soccer field across from the team facility. The Lakers threw around a football, shared some laughs, and got in a good stretch before going inside for practice.

Vogel understands the importance of preparing the players mentally as much as physically.

“Laughter is always a good remedy for something like this when it’s appropriate,” Vogel said, via Sports Illustrated. “We’ve had stuff like that. [Thursday’s] workout outside, it’s not the first time we’ve done that. But it does feel good to be out there. Just a change-up. It was really just a warm-up, and once we came inside it was business. Get back to business and lock into the work of what we have to get done in practice.

“One of the luxuries of living in Los Angeles, Southern California. You have this great weather from time to time. It’s a beautiful day out. There’s always therapeutic benefits to sunshine and being outside in the fresh air. We have this field right across the street, which has just been great for us opportunistically to go out there and get a stretch out there.”

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LeBron and Anthony Davis have yet to address the passing of Kobe or speak to the media since the passing, so it will be interesting to see if they have any comments to make before or after what will be a highly-emotional game on Friday.

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