It has been almost a year since one of the most tragic days in NBA history. On Tuesday, Jan. 26, it will have been one year since former Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. Los Angeles and the basketball world at large are still mourning his loss almost a year later, and Lakers coach Frank Vogel wanted to make sure that his team could do so however they saw fit when that anniversary actually arrives. Vogel told reporters Monday that he would give the team the day off on Tuesday so that they could reflect in whatever way they deem best.
The Lakers are in the middle of a road trip through the Eastern Conference. They play in Cleveland on Monday, and then on Wednesday, they will play in Bryant's home town of Philadelphia against the 76ers. It is not yet known when the Lakers will travel to Philadelphia.
Last season, the Lakers were initially scheduled to play two days after Bryant's death, but that game against the Los Angeles Clippers was postponed. They wound up playing three days after that against the Portland Trail Blazers, hosting a tribute to Bryant at the Staples Center before that game tipped off.
Bryant's shadow will loom over the Lakers organization forever. As the widely-agreed upon greatest player in franchise history, his legacy will forever be associated with the purple and gold no matter what the team does moving forward, and the anniversary of his death will remain a somber occasion for as long as his career is remembered.