Monday’s memorial for Kobe and Gianna Bryant drew a who’s who of NBA stars to Staples Center, including Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Bill Russell and Dwyane Wade.
Among active players in attendance were Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Stephen Curry and most of the Los Angeles Lakers, according to the L.A. Times.
Notably absent from the view of TV cameras was LeBron James, leaving fans to wonder if the Lakers superstar was in attendance. If he was, he remained out of the public eye.
He was asked about it at Lakers shootaround on Tuesday. He declined to provide clarity.
“I respect your question, for sure,” James said when asked if he attended, per the Times. “It was very emotional, very emotional day, very tough day for myself, for my family, for everyone involved.”
‘I’d appreciate if we can move on’
James then praised Kobe’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, for her strength before asking to move on from the topic.
“The one thing I can come out of this saying is how strong and how bold and how powerful Vanessa is to stand up there the way she did, to give the speech the way she gave that speech,” James continued. “I commend her. My heart is with her family still, with his three daughters that’s still here, with his wife, with his mom and dad, his sister.
“It was just a very difficult day. Obviously celebration, but it was a difficult day for all of us. I’d appreciate it if we can move on tonight. That would be great.”
James says he’s ‘emotionally a wreck’
James did talk about the impact Bryant’s death in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 has had on him.
“Emotionally a wreck, like everyone else,” James said. “Another challenging day for all of us. Like you’ve been hearing me talk about the last couple times you guys asked me about the whole situation, it’s just been hard to kind of talk about it. Trying not to go back. It’s just tough.”
He’s alluded to that emotional toll before, including after Sunday’s win over the Boston Celtics, where he told reporters that he’s trying to move on from focusing on Bryant’s death.
“It’s been a celebration ever since we got the horrific news about his life and what he means to the game,” James said on Sunday. “But I don’t want to keep going back on it. I think it’s unfair and unjust to his family as they’re trying to move on and we’re all trying to move on, but also know that he’s with us.
“His jersey is sitting in my locker right now. But it just puts me in a difficult mind state if I continue to harp on it, if you can respect that.”
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