LeBron James, Russell Westbrook among NBA stars paying respects to Nipsey Hussle at memorial service

Nearly a half-dozen NBA players are reportedly on hand at Staples Center, home of the Lakers and Clippers, for Wednesday's celebration of life memorial service for late rapper and L.A. native Nipsey Hussle.

Delayed by nearly an hour thanks to lines from a sold-out crowd, the service features programs with personal letters from the Lakers' LeBron James and Houston Rockets' James Harden, who's publicly paid trubute to the slain Grammy-nominated artist as a "leader." According to TMZ, the San Antonio Spurs' DeMar DeRozan and Oklahoma City Thunder's Russell Westbrook are among guests at the service. The Indiana Pacers' Isaiah Thomas is also said to be at Staples Center for the event.

Like Harden, many other NBA players have recognized Nipsey Hussle since the influential 33-year-old rapper and activist was shot and killed on March 31 outside of his clothing store in South Los Angeles.

Westbrook dedicated a 20-20-20 performance against the Lakers earlier this month to Hussle, who joined a gang as a teenager but had recently been working with the Los Angeles Police Department to prevent gang violence.

"It's another tragedy in the inner city, urban community, and it's just unfortunate," James told CBS 2 Los Angeles after Hussle's death, highlighting the rapper's activism in South Los Angeles. "It's so unfortunate when you look at a guy who believed in what he believed in, talked about how he wanted to give back to his own community, actually gave back to his community, and actually stayed in his community."

Wednesday's service will be followed by a 25.5-mile funeral procession, per CBS News, traveling from Staples Center through South Central Los Angeles neighborhoods.

CBS Sports Writer

Cody Benjamin joined CBS Sports in 2017 after time spent with SB Nation, various newspapers and his own Eagles outlet. Raised around the Philly sports scene, he now lives in Minnesota with his wife and... Full Bio

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