Joel Embiid starred for the Philadelphia 76ers in the NBA on Tuesday, while the Milwaukee Bucks recorded a resounding win.

Embiid made his return from a finger injury and had 24 points and 10 rebounds in the 76ers' 115-104 win over the Golden State Warriors.

The forward also wore a number 24 jersey to honour the late Kobe Bryant, who made it famous during his glittering career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Al Horford chipped in with a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds for the 76ers, who improved to 31-17.

The Bucks extended their winning streak to nine by thrashing the Washington Wizards 151-131.

Without Giannis Antetokounmpo (shoulder), the Bucks had no problems against the struggling Wizards.

Khris Middleton contributed a career-high 51 points to go with 10 rebounds, while Eric Bledsoe poured in 34.

Super Siakam, Hayward steps up

Pascal Siakam's 24 points and nine rebounds helped the Toronto Raptors past the Atlanta Hawks 130-114. The Raptors have won eight straight.

Gordon Hayward guided the Boston Celtics to a 109-101 victory over the Miami Heat with 29 points and nine rebounds.

Jonas Valanciunas' 23 points and 12 rebounds saw the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Denver Nuggets 104-96.

 

Bad Bullock

Reggie Bullock went two-of-seven from the field for just six points in 28 minutes in the New York Knicks' 97-92 loss to the Charlotte Hornets.

 

Kobe tributes continue

The tributes to Bryant continued after his death in a helicopter crash in California on Sunday.

The Dallas Mavericks and Phoenix Suns took an eight-second backcourt violation and 24-second shot-clock violation in honour of the Lakers great, who wore those two numbers during his career.

The 76ers and Warriors did likewise.

Tuesday's results

Charlotte Hornets 97-92 New York Knicks
Philadelphia 76ers 115-104 Golden State Warriors
New Orleans Pelicans 125-111 Cleveland Cavaliers
Toronto Raptors 130-114 Atlanta Hawks
Boston Celtics 109-101 Miami Heat
Memphis Grizzlies 104-96 Denver Nuggets
Milwaukee Bucks 151-131 Washington Wizards
Phoenix Suns 133-104 Dallas Mavericks

 

Rockets at Trail Blazers

Sitting fifth in the Western Conference, the Houston Rockets (29-17) visit the Portland Trail Blazers (20-27) on Wednesday.

Jerry West revealed Kobe Bryant had made a commitment to the Los Angeles Clippers during his glittering NBA career with the Lakers.

An all-time NBA great, Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday.

Bryant won five championships and was the 2008 MVP during a 20-year career with the Lakers which ended in 2016.

West, the former Lakers general manager, head coach and player, said Bryant had committed to making a shock move to the Clippers.

"I remember when he was going to leave the Lakers and I've never really mentioned this to anyone," he told NBA on TNT on Tuesday.

"He was going to come and sign with the Clippers, who I'm not involved with as a consultant. And I told him, 'Kobe, under no circumstances can you do this'.

"And he was mad at everyone at the Lakers, the owner, everyone else. I said, 'Kobe, you can't go play with the Clippers, you can't play for that owner [Donald Sterling], period'.

"We had two conversations about it and he had supposedly made a commitment to the Clippers … there's so many things that we talked about as he was just seeking information.

"His parents were with him for a while and honestly I felt like his father for two years. I don't know if I can get over this."

Bryant's former team-mate, Shaquille O'Neal, was still reeling from his friend's death, saying it would be difficult to overcome.

"The fact that we lost probably the world's greatest Laker, the world's greatest basketball player, is just, listen, people are going to say take your time and get better, but this is going to be hard for me," he told NBA on TNT.

"I already don't sleep anyway, but I'll figure it out."

O'Neal added: "I never could have imagined nothing like this. I was thinking the other day I've never seen anything like this.

"All the basketball idols that I grew up [watching], I see them. They're old."

Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid made his return from a finger injury and honoured the late Kobe Bryant on Tuesday.

Embiid missed nine games and required surgery after a nasty dislocated finger in a win over the Oklahoma City Thunder earlier this month.

But the 76ers star returned for a clash against the Golden State Warriors at Wells Fargo Center and he wore number 24, made famous by Bryant during his glittering career with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Bryant died in a helicopter crash alongside his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others on Sunday.

The 76ers held a moment of silence before ringing the bell nine times to recognise all nine victims.

The teams then started the game by taking an eight-second backcourt violation and 24-second shot-clock violation in a tribute to Bryant, who wore the two numbers during his career.

Embiid was averaging 23.4 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists this season heading into the meeting with the Warriors.

Kobe Bryant's body has been identified following the helicopter crash that killed the Los Angeles Lakers great, his daughter and seven others on Sunday.

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among nine killed after the crash in Calabasas, California.

The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner confirmed on Tuesday that Bryant's one of four bodies identified.

"Through the use of fingerprints, investigators identified three men and one woman who were on the aircraft," a brief statement read.

John Altobelli, Sarah Chester and Ara Zobayan were the other bodies identified by officials.

"Investigators are still working on identifying the five remaining decedents," the statement continued.

"The Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner will provide immediate updates on the names of the decedents as soon as they are officially verified and their next of kin have been notified."

An 18-time NBA All-Star and five-time championship winner, Bryant has been honoured across the world in the wake of his sudden death.

Kevin Durant feels nothing will ever be big enough to honour Kobe Bryant and his impact on basketball and the wider world.

Los Angeles Lakers legend Bryant was killed, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others, in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday. 

Tributes have poured in for the five-time NBA champion, who won the league MVP in 2008 and was named Finals MVP on two occasions in a glittering career that featured 18 All-Star berths.

NBA teams across the league have taken eight and 24-second violations – Bryant wore each of those numbers during his career – as a mark of respect. 

In Minnesota's game with the Sacramento Kings on Monday, Timberwolves star Andrew Wiggins placed the ball at the spot in the Target Center where Bryant surpassed Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list.

However, Brooklyn Nets forward Durant, MVP in 2014 with the Oklahoma City Thunder and a two-time Finals MVP with the Golden State Warriors, is unsure any gesture can do justice to Bryant.

He told reporters: "It's so hard to say right now [how to honour Bryant]. Just every basketball player go out and play as hard as they can to honour Kobe, I think that'd do.

"I tried to think about what I would say, what I would write, nothing was big enough and that's what I feel about everything when it comes to Kobe Bryant, his mark he left on the Earth.

"It feels like nothing will ever be big enough to truly honour Kobe Bryant but how we approach every day life, me as a disciple of Kobe who study him, learn from him, I think it's my justice to go out there and try to be the best I can be every single day, not just in basketball, in everything.

"I feel like everyone who loved Kobe is going to take that approach in their lives."

Durant's team-mate Spencer Dinwiddie and the Orlando Magic's Terrence Ross elected to stop wearing the number eight as a mark of respect for Bryant.

The Dallas Mavericks announced on Sunday that they will retire the number 24 jersey in Bryant's honour.

When the San Francisco 49ers face the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LIV, they will have a chance to round off an incredible decade for Bay Area sport in style.

The 2010s has seen three World Series trophies and three NBA titles come to the Bay, with the 49ers and San Jose Sharks also enjoying postseason positives alongside the dominance enjoyed by the San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors.

Sunday's showpiece in Miami, which brings to an end a magnificent 2019 season for the 49ers, will mark the 11th championship decider to feature a Bay Area team since 2010.

The 2019 Niners will hope they can add the finishing touches to a remarkable 10 years, and here we look at the teams that have gone before them in reaching the biggest stage in their respective sports in a decade that has brought plenty to celebrate.

2010: San Francisco Giants – Won World Series

The Giants moved from New York to San Francisco in 1958, but the city's fans had to wait 52 years to see the franchise win a World Series title as a west coast team. That drought was finally ended in manager Bruce Bochy's fourth season in charge.

The Giants beat the Texas Rangers in five games, with Edgar Renteria hitting a three-run home-run in a decisive 3-1 victory secured when Brian Wilson's strikeout clinched the first of three titles in five seasons for Bochy's men.

2012: San Francisco Giants – Won World Series

On the back of consecutive home defeats in the National League Division Series against the Cincinnati Reds, the Giants' hopes of regaining the World Series looked slim. However, after winning game three in extra innings, San Francisco claimed that series in five games thanks to NL MVP Buster Posey's grand slam in the decider.

They pulled off another comeback in the Championship Series, recovering from 3-1 down to defeat the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games, but the World Series proved a routine affair as the Giants swept the Detroit Tigers to take the trophy back to San Francisco.

2012: San Francisco 49ers – Lost Super Bowl XLVII

Having suffered an agonising overtime loss to the New York Giants the season before, the 49ers went one better and, thanks to Colin Kaepernick's emergence and the play of a dominant defense, made it to the Super Bowl in New Orleans.

There would be more heartbreak for the Niners, though, as – in a game remembered by most for the power outage that caused a 34-minute interruption in play – Jim Harbaugh's team were unable to complete a comeback from 28-6 down. John Harbaugh won the battle of the brothers, his Baltimore Ravens clinging on for a 34-31 win.

2014: San Francisco Giants – Won World Series

Few would have expected the Giants to improve on their heroics of 2012 when they made the postseason as a Wild Card team but, after crushing the Pittsburgh Pirates in the Wild Card game, they embarked on another improbable run.

The Giants saw off the Washington Nationals and then won the NLCS against the Cardinals on home soil in Game 5 thanks to Travis Ishikawa's walk-off homer. An epic World Series with the Kansas City Royals went seven games, with Madison Bumgarner's Herculean pitching effort the decisive factor.

2014-15: Golden State Warriors – Won NBA Finals

Golden State spent much of the first season of their dynasty listening to questions about whether a "jump-shooting team" could win the NBA title. Those questions were emphatically answered time and again over the coming years by one of the most dominant teams in NBA history.

In Steve Kerr's first season after taking over from Mark Jackson, Stephen Curry claimed the MVP award as the Warriors went 67-15. They eventually progressed to the NBA Finals against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, with the Warriors ending a 40-year wait for a title in six games thanks in large part to the tireless efforts of Andre Iguodala, who was named Finals MVP for his defense on LeBron.

2015-16: San Jose Sharks – Lost Stanley Cup Finals

Having formed in 1991, the Sharks' quarter-century wait to experience a Stanley Cup Finals series was finally ended when they overcame the St. Louis Blues in six games to win the Western Conference.

The Cup did not make its way to the Bay for the first time, however, as the Pittsburgh Penguins prevailed 4-2 in an absorbing finals series that featured two overtime games. San Jose have yet to return to the same stage and the Sharks' wait to reach the top of the mountain in the NHL goes on.

2015-16: Golden State Warriors – Lost NBA Finals

The Warriors appeared destined to secure back-to-back titles throughout the 2015-16 campaign, which they started with an astounding 28-game winning streak, the second-longest in NBA history.

Behind a unanimous MVP season from Curry, the Warriors broke the record for regular-season wins by going 73-9 but, in the postseason, they made history for the wrong reasons. Golden State overturned a 3-1 deficit to the Oklahoma City Thunder to reach the NBA Finals, but they ended up on the other end of a comeback as LeBron delivered on his promise to bring a title to Cleveland with the Cavaliers. The Warriors became the first team in history to lose a Finals having led 3-1.

2016-17: Golden State Warriors – Won NBA Finals

Golden State's response to their heartbreaking defeat to the Cavs was to add one of the best ever to take to the court to the roster. Kevin Durant had been on the Thunder team undone by the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals, but he controversially made the move to join his conquerors, and it was one that paid huge dividends.

The Warriors did not put the same effort into the regular season as they had done when in pursuit of the record in 2015-16 but, with Durant in the line-up, they were unstoppable in the playoffs. Golden State lost just one game in the postseason, swatting aside the competition and defeating the Cavaliers 4-1 in the Finals. Durant averaged 35.2 points per game and added the only two things missing from his glittering resume: an NBA title and the Finals MVP award.

2017-18: Golden State Warriors – Won NBA Finals

Though the second act with Durant on the team may not have been quite as impressive as the first – the Warriors had to fight back from 3-2 down to beat the Houston Rockets in the Western Conference Finals – LeBron and the Cavs still proved powerless to stop them marching to back-to-back NBA crowns in a Finals sweep.

Such was the Warriors' dominance that the biggest question of the Finals was whether it would be Curry or Durant who would win Finals MVP. Durant won that debate, further vindicating the decision that caused so much consternation two years earlier.

2018-19: Golden State Warriors – Lost NBA Finals

The Warriors' addition of DeMarcus Cousins in the offseason following their third title in four seasons gave them the possibility of starting five All-Stars. Rarely did a line-up of Curry, Durant, Cousins, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green see the floor at the same time, however, and injuries eventually became too much for Golden State to overcome.

Durant missed a large portion of the postseason with a strained calf and attempted to return in Game 5 of the Finals with the Toronto Raptors. His decision proved ill-fated, though, as Durant ruptured his Achilles in what proved his final game for the Warriors. Golden State pushed the series to Game 6, but Thompson's torn ACL effectively ended their hopes as the Raptors won the title for the first time.

2019: San Francisco 49ers – ???

It has been an incredible turnaround for the 49ers who, after going 6-10 and 4-12 in their first two seasons under Kyle Shanahan, are a win away from a sixth Super Bowl title.

Legendary Niners coach Bill Walsh went 2-14 and 6-10 in his first two seasons before, like Shanahan, going 13-3 in his third in 1981.

The Niners went on to win the Super Bowl and start a dynasty under Walsh and, throughout an emotional rollercoaster of a season in which they have won several nail-biting games, Shanahan's men have felt like a team destined for glory.

Their challenge now is to turn destiny into reality.

The key players in Super Bowl LIV expressed their admiration for Kobe Bryant at Opening Night on Monday, a day after the former Los Angeles Lakers star died in a helicopter crash.

A moment of silence was held for Bryant at Marlins Park in Miami, where players from both the San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs spoke about the NBA great.

The 18-time All Star was killed, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven others on Sunday, shortly before the Niners and Chiefs arrived in Miami.

Here is what some of the leading Chiefs and 49ers players said about Bryant's death.

 

Patrick Mahomes (Kansas City Chiefs quarterback): "I wasn't lucky enough to get to meet Kobe. But the impact that he made in my life, it was huge. The way he was able to go about every single day and the work ethic and the intensity that he had to be great every single day. Even to this day, I still watch videos on YouTube the day before games."

George Kittle (San Francisco 49ers tight end): "Other than my parents, he was the reason I played sports. Just his mindset, the 'Mamba mentality'. I wore the number 24 in high school, my freshman, sophomore year, because of him. I wore Kobe Bryant basketball shoes because of Kobe Bryant. Every time I laced up my basketball shoes, I felt like I had Kobe Bryant with me. I had a little part of him."

Richard Sherman (San Francisco 49ers cornerback): "There's not enough words in my vernacular, in my vocabulary, to give him the praise and the respect that he deserves. But he deserves every inch, every ounce of respect, every ounce of gratitude. He gave me a ton of inspiration and I'm sure he inspired millions and millions and trillions of other kids."

Travis Kelce (Kansas City Chiefs tight end): "I had an opportunity to meet Kobe and he's just an unbelievable person. You can't say enough about who he was and his impact and with that, I just feel bad for the Bryant family, everybody involved out there on the west coast. My heart's with you as well as everyone here in America."

Frank Clark (Kansas City Chiefs defensive end): "The one person I looked to for inspiration and all my strength growing up when I was going through the things I was going through was Kobe Bryant. He was a successful guy and that's the one thing you look to. You look at the gangs and you look at the drug dealers and then you look at the guys who are successful."

Tyrann Mathieu (Kansas City Chiefs safety): "His will to win was nothing I'd ever seen before. I thought I practiced hard but going through YouTube videos and watching Kobe at practice, he was in a complete different element."

Dante Pettis (San Francisco 49ers wide receiver): "The way he attacked life, there was nothing Kobe couldn’t defeat. He was a hero. A hero in general. In everything he did. It wasn't just sports. He wasn't just a basketball player. Everything he did, he gave 100 percent. That's something I'd like to be able to do. I wanted to live like him."

Jimmy Garoppolo (San Francisco 49ers quarterback): "We were actually on the plane ride in, and someone told me in the seat behind me. Honestly, I didn't even believe it. It didn't register at first. Just so sudden and everything like that. It's hard to accept but just a terrible, terrible tragedy."

An emotional Luka Doncic led the Dallas Mavericks to a 107-97 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder, while the short-handed Houston Rockets topped the Utah Jazz.

Emotions were still raw on Monday following the tragic death of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who was killed in a helicopter crash, along with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, on Sunday.

Suiting up for the road game in Oklahoma City, Mavericks star Doncic posted 29 points and 11 rebounds for Dallas – who have retired Bryant's iconic number 24 jersey.

"I broke down after the first quarter," Doncic said. "That was when it really hit me. It was really hard to explain."

The Thunder were without star guard Chris Paul, who sat out his first game of the season to mourn the loss of friend Bryant. Oklahoma City cited personal reasons.

Eric Gordon scored a career-high 50 points as the Rockets defeated the high-flying Jazz 126-117 in Utah.

In the absence of James Harden and Russell Westbrook, Gordon became the first Rockets player besides the former to score 50 points in a game since Hakeem Olajuwon had 51 in 1996, per Stats Perform.

 

Career night for Hield

A career-high 42 points from Buddy Hield helped the Sacramento Kings outlast the Minnesota Timberwolves 133-129 in overtime. The Kings rallied from a 27-point deficit in Minnesota.

DeMar DeRozan put up 36 points and 10 rebounds in the San Antonio Spurs' narrow 110-109 defeat the Chicago Bulls.

Bam Adebayo's third triple-double of the season (20 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists) inspired a 113-92 victory for the Miami Heat against the Orlando Magic. "It was about honouring Kobe," Adebayo said. "I felt like I had the 'Mamba Mentality' tonight ... I never got to meet him but he's here in spirit."

The Jazz lost but Donovan Mitchell starred with 36 points against the soaring Rockets.

 

Tough outing for Ingles

Usually a strong contributor, Joe Ingles struggled for the Jazz. The Australian was two of eight from the floor and one of seven from three-point range for just seven points in 33 minutes.

 

Timberwolves honour Bryant

Teams across the league have continued to honour five-time champion and 2008 MVP Bryant. On Monday, the Timberwolves opened the game by taking an eight-second backcourt violation and Sacramento took a 24-second shot-clock violation in hour of the two numbers Bryant wore in his famed 20-year career. While taking their violation, Timberwolves star Andrew Wiggins placed the ball on the free throw line – where Bryant scored to eclipse Michael Jordan for third place on the NBA's scoring list in December 2014.

Monday's results

Cleveland Cavaliers 115-100 Detroit Pistons
Miami Heat 113-92 Orlando Magic
Dallas Mavericks 107-97 Oklahoma City Thunder
Chicago Bulls 110-109 San Antonio Spurs
Sacramento Kings 133-129 Minnesota Timberwolves (OT)
Houston Rockets 126-117 Utah Jazz

 

Celtics at Heat

It is an Eastern Conference blockbuster as the Heat host the Boston Celtics on Tuesday. The Heat (32-14) are second in the east, while the Celtics (30-15) are fourth. The showdown between the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers was supposed to headline play, but the clash has been postponed following Bryant's death.

Los Angeles Lakers fan and famous actor Jack Nicholson said "it kills you" as he remembered Kobe Bryant after his tragic death.

Lakers great Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with seven others in Calabasas, California.

A man synonymous with the Lakers, Oscar Award-winning actor Nicholson has long been a regular courtside at Staples Center, watching Bryant up close and personal during his 20-year career in Los Angeles.

Reacting to the death of five-time NBA champion and 2008 MVP Bryant, Nicholson told KCBS: "My reaction is the same as almost all of L.A. You just suddenly, where everything was solid, there's a big hole in the wall.

"I was just so used to seeing and talking to Kobe. It kills you. It's just a terrible event."

"We'll think of him all the time, and we'll miss him," Nicholson continued. "He was just one of those touched people… I sat right behind his jump shot on the left-hand side. I can see him going up, and I can tell the first instant if it was in."

Nicholson, 82, added: "I remember in totality just how great a player he was. But you know, I teased him the first time we met. It was in [Madison Square] Garden in New York, and I offered him a basketball and asked him, did he want me to autograph it for him? He looked at me like I was crazy."

Meanwhile, iconic New York City building – the Empire State Building – lit up in purple and gold in tribute to the 18-time All-Star on Monday.

"Our lights will shine in purple and gold this evening as we pay tribute to basketball legend Kobe Bryant, an inspiration to millions across the globe who was taken too soon. Our hearts go out to all of the families, friends, and fans affected by this tragedy," the official Twitter account tweeted.

LeBron James promised to continue Kobe Bryant's legacy as the heartbroken superstar reacted to the Los Angeles Lakers legend's tragic death.

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with seven others in Calabasas, California.

Tuesday's showdown between city rivals the Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center has been postponed, with James and the storied franchise still reeling from the news.

James, who surpassed five-time NBA champion and 2008 MVP Bryant for third on the all-time points list on Saturday, issued his first public comments via social media on Monday.

In an Instagram post, James – a team-mate of Bryant's as the United States won gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games – wrote: "I'm Not Ready but here I go. Man I sitting here trying to write something for this post but every time I try I begin crying again just thinking about you, niece Gigi and the friendship/bond/brotherhood we had!

"I literally just heard your voice Sunday morning before I left Philly to head back to LA. Didn't think for one bit in a million years that would be the last conversation we'd have. WTF!! I'm heartbroken and devastated my brother!!. Man I love you big bro. My heart goes to Vanessa and the kids. I promise you I'll continue your legacy man!

"You mean so much to us all here especially #LakerNation and it's my responsibility to put this shit on my back and keep it going!! Please give me the strength from the heavens above and watch over me!

"I got US here! There's so much more I want to say but just can't right now because I can't get through it! Until we meet again my brother!! #Mamba4Life #Gigi4Life"

A petition attempting to immortalise Kobe Bryant as the new NBA logo has more than one million signatures after the Los Angeles Lakers legend died in a helicopter crash.

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with seven others in Calabasas, California.

Regarded as one of the all-time greats, Bryant won five NBA championships and two Olympic Games gold medals with the United States, while he was crowned the 2008 MVP.

As the world continues to mourn the passing of the 18-time All-Star, a petition is calling for Bryant's image to be on the NBA logo in honour of the superstar.

The petition says, "with the untimely and unexpected passing of the great Kobe Bryant please sign this petition in an attempt to immortalise him forever as the new NBA logo".

Bryant spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers, where he retired following a memorable 60-point performance in 2016.

After entering the league in 1996, Bryant scored 33,643 points – fourth on the all-time list having been surpassed by LeBron James on Saturday – in 1,346 games.

Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant wanted to die young and be immortalised, according to Hall of Famer Tracy McGrady.

Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with seven others in Calabasas, California.

A five-time NBA champion and 2008 MVP, Bryant was good friends with seven-time All-Star McGrady – who played for the Toronto Raptors, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks and San Antonio Spurs.

McGrady broke down in tears as he remembered Bryant – a two-time Finals MVP – on Monday.

"I'm devastated, just like everybody else. I know this sounds crazy, but he spoke this, he used to say all the time 'I wanna die young, I wanna be immortalised and have my career be better than Michael Jordan and I want to die young'," McGrady told ESPN.

"And I just thought he was so crazy for saying that. And when I got the news yesterday I just could not believe it."

McGrady added: "Clearly that statement was way before kids. I'm sure once he had kids, he didn't have that mindset."

Bryant spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers, where he retired following a memorable 60-point performance in 2016.

After entering the league in 1996, Bryant scored 33,643 points – fourth on the all-time list having been surpassed by LeBron James on Saturday – in 1,346 games.

The Los Angeles Lakers said it is a "very difficult time for all of us" as the NBA franchise expressed their gratitude for the outpouring of support following the tragic death of Kobe Bryant.

Lakers great Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with seven others in Calabasas, California.

Tuesday's NBA showdown between city rivals the Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center has been postponed as the world mourns the death of the five-time champion and 2008 MVP.

The Lakers released their first statement on Monday since the tragedy and it read: "In consultation with the NBA League office, the game scheduled between the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers for Tuesday, January 28 will be postponed and scheduled for a future date.

"The Los Angeles Lakers would like to thank all of you for the tremendous outpouring of support and condolences. This is a very difficult time for all of us.

"We continue to support the Bryant family and will share more information as it is available."

Bryant, who entered the league with the Lakers in 1996, is regarded as one of the all-time greats following a career spanning 20 years in Los Angeles before retiring in 2016.

An 18-time All-Star and two-time Finals MVP, Bryant won a pair of Olympic gold medals, helping United States to glory in 2008 and 2012.

The NBA showdown between city rivals the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers has been postponed after the tragic death of Kobe Bryant.

Lakers legend Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday, along with seven others in Calabasas, California.

Sunday and Monday's games have gone ahead as tributes continue to pour in for the five-time champion and 2008 MVP, who spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers.

However, Tuesday's blockbuster clash at Staples Center will be rescheduled at a later date, with Los Angeles reeling following Bryant's sudden death.

"The decision was made out of respect for the Lakers organisation, which is deeply grieving the tragic loss of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people in a helicopter crash on Sunday," the NBA said in a statement.

Bryant, who entered the league with the Lakers in 1996, is regarded as one of the all-time greats following a career spanning two decades at Staples Center.

An 18-time All-Star and two-time Finals MVP, Bryant won a pair of Olympic gold medals, helping United States to glory in 2008 and 2012.

LeBron James and the Lakers (36-10) top the Western Conference, ahead of the Utah Jazz and Kawhi Leonard's third-placed Clippers (33-14).

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