Every morning, we compile the links of the day and dump them here… highlighting the big storyline. Because there’s nothing quite as satisfying as a good morning dump.
As most of his teammates shared these stories in a hallway outside their locker room, forward Jayson Tatum, who was probably the Celtic closest to Bryant, was still inside, facing his locker, and silent. Tatum idolized Bryant as a child, and then lived out a dream when he was able to work out with him last year. He declined to speak to reporters after the Celtics’ 123-108 loss to the Pelicans on Sunday.
“I just dapped him up and put my hand on his head, and I didn’t really have too say much,” Brown said of Tatum. “I know he looked up to him. He’s inspired by him.”
“I didn’t know that it was real, to be honest,” Hayward said. “I had to look it up for myself. I was heartbroken. Heartbroken for his family. Being a father, my stomach was hurting. It still is hurting. There’s nothing that you can say to make it better.”
Hayward said he didn’t really want to play on Sunday, but he also said that’s probably not what Bryant would have wanted. Across the league, the games went on.
“We still can’t believe that it’s true,” Smart said. “I think in the back of our minds we’re still wishing and hoping that it’s not.”
I understand why the league pressed forward with business-as-usual yesterday, but it didn’t feel right.
I had hoped the game would provide some level of distraction from the heartache, but my usual vigor and fanaticism were diluted. Hell, I didn’t even have the motivation to criticize the officiating.
Being the father of a young child who loves watching and playing hoops is the only thing I have in common with Kobe Bryant. I learned of his death a few hours after watching my son play for his travel team. And while we won’t be flying around in helicopters any time soon, the reminder that all of this could disappear in an instant is sobering.
My colleague Ben Mark encapsulated our feelings about Bryant’s death:
NBC Boston – Kobe’s death reminds us how fragile it all is
The Ringer: Kobe Bryant was a legend
On Page 2, injury updates for Tatum and Kanter.
Jayson Tatum could return Tuesday, longer wait for Kanter: The Celtics have a critical test looming on Tuesday night in Miami against a Heat team fighting with them for the No. 2 seed in the standings. Stevens said after the game that Tatum was close to a return after missing his second straight game with a sore groin. Enes Kanter will not make the trip to Miami but is questionable to play for Thursday’s game against the Warriors when the Celtics return to Boston.
I’m hopeful Tatum will return so the team can resume building some consistency among the key rotation players.
Just 2.5 games separate the 2nd and 6th seeds in the Eastern Conference and I have a feeling it’s going to stay like this for the remainder of the year.
The rest of the links
Mass Live – Kemba scores 35, but Celtics fall to New Orleans