Basketball: NBA teams pay homage to Kobe Bryant during matches

The NBA has decided to play all eight games as scheduled, after the death of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash.

On Monday (NZ time), Bryant was travelling in his private Sikorsky S-76 helicopter, when it went down amid foggy conditions in the hills above Calabasas, Los Angeles.

All five passengers on the helicopter died, including Bryant's daughter, Gianna. 

A tribute to Kobe Bryant on a shoe.
A tribute to Kobe Bryant on a shoe. Photo credit: Reuters

The news broke just 45 minutes before the day's first NBA game was due to tip-off between the Houston Rockets and Denver Nuggets. 

Players were visibly emotional before the match and a moment's silence was observed. 

In another game between the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs, both teams let the shot clock expire for 24-second violations on each of their first possessions. 

Bryant wore 24 for most of his career. 

The crowd immediately caught on to the tribute as it was unfolding and chants of 'Kobe' started around the arena.

Players from all teams had tributes for Bryant written on their shoes. 

Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks tearfully embraced his mother after practice, before their game against the Washington Wizards. He changed his playing number to '8', another of Bryant's jerseys during his Lakers career.

The other games scheduled for today included Memphis Grizzlies v Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic v Los Angeles Clippers, New York Knicks v Brooklyn Nets, New Orleans Pelicans v Boston Celtics, and the Portland Trail Blazers v Indiana Pacers. 

Nets guard Kyrie Irving - a close friend of Bryant's - will not play against the Knicks, due to the tragic news.