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Athletes, musicians and iconic landmarks offer tributes to Kobe Bryant

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Posted at 12:09 PM, Jan 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-27 12:12:45-05

The death of Kobe Bryant stunned the sports world Sunday, leading to dozens of on-court tributes across the country.

Sixteen NBA teams were in action on Sunday, and nearly every game featured some sort of tribute to the former Laker great.

Tipping off on national TV just hours after news of Bryant's death broke, the New Orleans Pelicans and the Boston Celtics took back-to-back 24-second shot clock violations — a tribute to Bryant, who wore No. 24 with the Lakers.

The Spurs and Raptors also took 24-second shot clock violations to start their game.

The Phoenix Suns and the Memphis Grizzlies took their tribute to the next level. After Memphis won the opening tip and took a 24-second violation, the Suns inbounded the ball and took an 8-second backcourt violation. Bryant wore No. 8 for the first few seasons of his career before switching to No. 24.

Dozens of NBA players memorialized Bryant by writing messages on their sneakers — including New Orleans Pelicans players Lonzo Ball, Frank Jackson and Jaxson Hayes.

Landmarks around Bryant's adopted home city of Los Angeles were illuminated in purple and gold — including Los Angeles International Airport the City Hall.

And it wasn't just LA. Iconic buildings around the country — including New York's Empire State Building and Madison Square Garden (where Bryant once held the single-game scoring record), as well as Cleveland's Terminal Tower donned Lakers colors.

Even TD Garden — the home of the Lakers' archrivals, the Celtics — gave tribute to Bryant.

The Grammy Awards took place at the Staples Center — the Lakers' home arena — on Sunday evening, and nearly every performance included a tribute to Bryant. Lizzo opened the ceremony by declaring "this one's for Kobe," Lil' Nas X hung a Bryant jersey on his performance stage, and Billy Ray Cyrus used a guitar inscribed with No. 24.

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All the while, Bryant's retired numbers hung in the Staples Center rafters, illuminated for all to see.

Eight other people, including Bryant's 13-year-old daughter Gianna, died in the helicopter crash. It's currently unclear what caused the crash, though there are reports of fog in the area at the time.

Alex Hider is a writer for the E.W. Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @alexhider.