Kobe Bryant

Mavericks, Thunder Honor Kobe Bryant in Teams' 1st Game Since Star's Death

'It's an unfathomable loss,' coach Rick Carlisle says

The Dallas Mavericks and Oklahoma City Thunder honored Kobe Bryant with a moment of silence before Monday night’s game.

After the game's opening tip-off, each team deliberately took a 24-second shot clock violation. Bryant’s number was 24.

"It's an unfathomable loss,” Maverics head coach Rick Carlisle said. “You're talking about a guy who was a cultural icon, one of the greatest athletes to ever play in any sport."

The Dallas Mavericks are playing the Oklahoma City Thunder at Cheseapeake Energy Arena in OKC, and basketball fans are paying tribute to Kobe Bryant who died along with his daughter and seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif.

Dallas player development coach God Shammgod knew Bryant for more than 30 years.

The two were so close, Bryant asked Shammgod to work with his daughter Gianna to teach her the basics of basketball.

“She was just like him, same mindset,” Shammgod said. “She was destined to be great… She worked hard, just an amazing human being, man. It’s just messed up.”

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Players, including newly acquired Maverick Willie Cauley-Stein, also paid tribute.

"It's a sad deal,” Cauley-Stein said. “Makes you like appreciate this a lot more, makes you appreciate the people you get to interact with on a daily basis and you can't really take it for granted."

An electronic sign outside the Chesapeake Energy Arena flashed an iconic picture of Bryant, wearing his famous No. 24 jersey and holding a basketball.

Fans from Los Angeles and in North Texas react to heart-breaking news that NBA star Kobe Bryant and eight others died in a helicopter crash Sunday. Kris Gutierrez reports from the growing memorial outside the Staples Center, Newy Scruggs has Los Angeles’ sports community reaction and the Mavs take on the Thunder after announcing they’d retire No. 24.

Many fans showed up to the game wearing Bryant’s jerseys.

"We lost a good person and a great player really,” Ramon Vargas said. Vargas used to live in Los Angeles, but moved to Oklahoma City.

Jose Rojo is an Oklahoma City Thunder fan, but always said he cheered on his favorite Laker and can’t believe he’s now gone.

"I watched him my whole life,” Rojo said. “He was my childhood hero. It was crazy. It was the last thing I expected to happen, you know?"

Tanya Roberts, a flight attendant visiting Oklahoma City, shared her thoughts.

"I think Kobe just represents everybody who ever wanted something bad enough and wanted to be really great at it and do it well,” Roberts said.

The Mavericks beat the Thunder 107-97.

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