Rockets James Harden, Russell Westbrook attend Kobe Bryant celebration

Houston Rockets James Harden Russell Westbrook (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
Houston Rockets James Harden Russell Westbrook (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /

Before an evening game, James Harden, Russell Westbrook and P.J. Tucker attended the celebration for Kobe Bryant and Gianna at the Staples Center Monday.

In a packed Staples Center, three Houston Rockets were present to honor and celebrate the life of the late, great Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna on Monday afternoon. James Harden, Russell Westbrook and P.J. Tucker made the trek to Los Angeles to pay their respects among a myriad of NBA players and coaches.

The tragic events that occurred almost one month ago have shaken the NBA world and will never be forgotten, as Bryant, his daughter, and seven others fell victim to a fatal helicopter crash. Since then, the NBA has been paying tribute to the Black Mamba in many ways, highlighted by an All-Star Game that had the best fourth quarter of any such game of all-time.

Among NBA greats like Bill Russell, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Jordan, the Rockets’ trio sat down to listen to speeches from Vanessa Bryant, Jimmy Kimmel and others at the memorial service.

James Harden and Russell Westbrook sitting together at the Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant. P.J. Tucker is also there.

— Alykhan Bijani (@Rockets_Insider) February 24, 2020

Although they are in attendance, the three are all still expected to play when the New York Knicks visit Houston at 8 pm ET on Monday evening, with the plan being to take a private jet back home after the service.

Tucker played in the NBA during five of Kobe’s seasons (2006-07 and 2012-15), while Westbrook played eight years and Harden seven years with the legend. James Harden has talked about his relationship with Bryant often in the past, telling Jimmy Kimmel he was his favorite player growing up.

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On the other side, Kobe Bryant once told Kimmel in 2015 that Harden would be his first pick for an NBA player to build a team around.

Russell Westbrook also had a close relationship with Kobe, competing against him in two playoff series as a member of the Oklahoma City Thunder along with James Harden back in the 2010s. The Rockets backcourt was also fortunate enough to share the court on the international stage with Kobe Bryant as members of the 2012 gold-medal-winning Olympic basketball team.

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Greatness truly recognizes greatness, and looking at everyone that was in attendance at the celebration of Kobe and Gianna’s lives proves it. Kobe’s greatness transcended basketball and sports in general, and what he gave to the game will last forever.