PBA will kick off 45th season with tribute to the late Kobe Bryant

Paul Lintag on Feb 06, 2020 12:00 PM
PBA will kick off 45th season with tribute to Kobe Bryant
(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

An official tribute for the late Kobe Bryant will be given by the Philippine Basketball Association when the league opens a new season on March 1.

The PBA will kick off a 45th season next month and opening day Sunday at the Big Dome will include the Leo Awards, a Finals rematch between San Miguel Beer and Magnolia, and an homage to Kobe, the former Los Angeles Lakers star who won five NBA titles.

On Jan. 26, Kobe, with his 13-year-old daughter Gigi, and seven others died in a tragic helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.

As tributes continue to pour for the Lakers great, the PBA will also officially honor Bryant, who was a frequent visitor in Manila.

"The PBA Board in silence prayed for him and decided to give him a tribute [on March 1]," said chairman Ricky Vargas, who presided over the PBA Board's annual meeting in Milan, Italy.

"He's [Bryant] been part of us. And he has touched each one of us by his own inspiration in playing the game," Vargas added.

During the lockout 2011 season, Bryant, along with other NBA stars, played a couple of games at the Big Dome against a selection of PBA All-Stars and the Smart-Gilas Pilipinas national team.

Kobe's final visit in Manila came in 2016, months after he retired from the NBA after 20 years with the Lakers.


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