LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 10: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers gueards Kyrie Irving #2 of the Cleveland Cavaliers during a 120-108 Cavaliers win at Staples Center on March 10, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and condition of the Getty Images License Agreement.
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Kyrie Irving will sit out Sunday’s game between the Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s tragic death.

Danny Small

NEW YORK, NY—A somber mood swept over Madison Square Garden prior to a clash between the New York Knicks and Brooklyn Nets. The tragic news of Kobe Bryant‘s death is hitting the NBA, but Sunday’s games will go on as scheduled.

Kyrie Irving will miss Sunday’s game for personal reasons, which was first reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic. Irving and Bryant developed an incredibly close bond throughout the years and head coach Kenny Atkinson alluded to this during a pregame statement.

“I’m just going to make a brief statement on behalf of the Nets organization,” Atkinson said. “We’d like to express our sincerest condolences to the Bryant family and everybody affected by the tragedy.

“As an organization, we’re devastated, our players are devastated. We have a player that was very close to Kobe and our thoughts and prayers are with him also. It’s just a tough time for the NBA, for all of us. That’s really all I have to say.”

Mike Miller’s statement

Knicks interim head coach Mike Miller also made a statement on Bryant’s untimely death.

“The Knicks organization is in mourning over today’s tragic event involving Kobe Bryant,” Miller said. “He was not only a basketball icon but a global icon and someone that many in our locker room hold in high regard. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the Laker family as well.”

There was no pregame availability for players, for obvious reasons. A few Knicks and Nets took to social media to honor the late Bryant.


NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.