After practice on Wednesday, Lakers coach Frank Vogel paid his respects to Kobe Bryant who died in a helicopter crash along with his 13-year-old daughter and seven other people on Sunday in Calabasas.
"We want to represent what Kobe was about," he said to reporters gathered at the El Segundo facility. "We always wanted to make him proud."
After Vogel heard the tragic news Sunday, he said he went home and hugged his family.
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Vogel was reportedly the first to address the team on the charter home from Philadelphia as news of the tragedy began to break on social media.
"I just wanted to make sure everybody knew," Vogel said of the moment he stood up, moved to the front of the plane and spoke to everyone onboard. "Some had heard and seen the reports, some had not, so it was just a daunting task to let them know."
The Sikorsky S-76B helicopter carrying Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven other passengers crashed at about 9:45 a.m. Sunday in the area of Las Virgenes Road and Willow Glen Street after departing from John Wayne Airport in Orange County.
It was bound for Camarillo, with the passengers on board heading to the Mamba Sports Academy in Newbury Park, where the retired Lakers legend was set to coach his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, in a tournament game.
The Lakers were scheduled to face off with their Staples Center co-tenants the LA Clippers on Tuesday, but the NBA postponed the game on Monday after speaking with both teams.
Vogel said he observed his team and the organization and knew they were in no condition to take the court so soon after the tragedy.
"You observe those around you and your own feelings and emotions and you proceed at the right pace at the right time," he said.
On Tuesday, the Lakers met at the team's practice facility in El Segundo for what Vogel called a "therapy session." The team did some light shooting work, but mostly spent the time together as a team grieving, and sharing their favorite stories of Bryant.
The players did not address the media on Wednesday, and Vogel told his players that "you guys can speak when you're ready and not before."
The Lakers will take the court for the first time since Kobe Bryant's tragic death on Friday at 7:30PM when they host the Portland Trail Blazers.