Knicks, Nets fans, local athletes pay tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Tributes continue to pour in after NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter were among nine people tragically killed in a helicopter crash in California, including in New York City, where the Black Mamba had some of his most memorable moments.

Bryant scored 61 points at Madison Square Garden on February 2, 2009, including a perfect 20-for-20 from the free throw line, which set the record for MSG at the time (it was since surpassed by Carmelo Anthony, who later scored 62).

Knicks fans were mesmerized and broke out into chants of "MVP," bringing even Spike Lee to his feet.

He also put on one of the most memorable performances at Harlem's famed Rucker Park in 2002.

The New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets met at the World's Most Famous Arena Sunday, with the venue lit in purple and gold to honor the career Laker, but all in attendance on this night were Kobe Bryant fans as a pall hung over the game.

"A great loss for the NBA, but also for young people because with the whole Mamba Mentality," Knicks fan Jae Andes said. "It was about his drive, his perseverance, and just his overall great spirit, so it's a huge loss and still kinda shocked about it."

A 24-second moment of silence was held before the game, and both sides then took 24-second violations to honor Kobe, who wore No. 24. Similar moments were held around the league, with some teams opting for an 8-second violation as a sign of respect to Kobe's other retired number, No. 8.

The Knicks and Nets both released statements on Twitter ahead of the game:


Local athletes were also posting their condolences:











In addition, fans taped over the sign of the Bryant Park subway station, renaming it "Kobe Bryant Park."

Some fans were surprised the Knicks vs. Nets game went on as scheduled, but Bryant was known for never taking a day off.

In fact, Bryant told reporters at his final press conference that he would be at the gym the next day, and it was in that spirit that the game went on as planned.

In addition, fans taped over the sign of the Bryant Park subway station, renaming it "Kobe Bryant Park."

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