The left striker from Los Angeles Lakers, LeBron James, and guard Quinn Cook hug at the end of the NBA -Basketball training in El Segundo, California, Thursday, January 30, 2020. The Lakers held their second practice session on Thursday while still mourning former player Kobe Bryant. (AP Photo / Damian Dovarganes)
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles Lakers, shaken by the death of franchise icon Kobe Bryant, attempt to redirect their attention to the pursuit of an NBA title, a chase that continues on Friday against the Portland Trail Blazers ,
"We're concentrating on work," head coach Frank Vogel told reporters at the team's practice facility in the El Segundo suburb. "There is therapy at work."
Before the Lakers got down to serious work, they warmed up outside with a little soccer ball and American football to lighten the atmosphere.
"We try to make the boys feel comfortable," said Vogel. "Laughter is always a good remedy for something like this when it is appropriate.
"Today's training outside is not the first time we are doing this. But it is good to be out there."
The Lakers were on their way home from Philadelphia when Bryant – who won five NBA titles with the club in a 20-year career – was killed in a helicopter crash in a Calabasas suburb on Sunday.
The 41-year-old was one of nine who died, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, her teammates from the Mamba Academy, Payton Chester and Alyssa Altobelli, Altobelli's parents John and Keri, and Chester's mother Sarah.
Pilot Ara Zobayan and Christina Mauser, an assistant to the Mamba Academy team, also died.
Lakers superstar LeBron James was among many in the NBA – and the larger sports world around the world – to express his fear of Bryant's death on social media.
But James and other Lakers players still have to speak publicly about the loss of a player who defined one generation of NBA players and inspired another.
Bryant's wife Vanessa broke her silence in an Instagram post Wednesday night, claiming she was "devastated" by the sudden loss of her husband and daughter.
"Kobe and our little girl Gigi shine on us to light the way," she wrote. "Our love for them is endless – and that means immeasurable."
Jeanie Buss, the controlling owner and president of the Lakers, expressed condolences to Vanessa Bryant and the couple's other three daughters, Natalia, Bianka and Capri, on Instagram on Thursday.
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