Brooklyn Nets honor Kobe, Gianna Bryant by leaving courtside seats empty

NEW YORK -- The overhead lights in Barclays Center dimmed and the Brooklyn Nets' tribute to the late Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna came into focus.

Before Brooklyn tipped off against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday night, a two-minute video of Bryant's on-court highlights and photos of him alongside his daughter played on the video board. The video ended with a spotlight shining on two empty courtside seats. The cameras lingered on the seats, which had bouquets of purple and yellow flowers placed on them.

Bryant sat alongside his daughter in those very seats while watching a Dec. 21 game against the Atlanta Hawks. Hawks guard Trae Young was Gianna Bryant's favorite NBA player. During the game, cameras showed Bryant coaching his daughter through one of the sequences that was unfolding on the court in front of them.

The video clip of the moment between father and daughter almost immediately went viral and has been recirculating in the days since Bryant and his daughter died, with seven others, in a helicopter crash Sunday.

After the tribute video concluded, the Nets asked the crowd to observe 24 seconds of silence in honor of Bryant. The video board showed the names of all nine victims who died in Sunday's crash. Additional lights illuminated an "8" and "24" -- Bryant's numbers during his NBA career -- on the court during the tribute.

Kyrie Irving, in his first game since missing time to mourn the death of Bryant, shed tears throughout the tribute.

The minutes leading up to the Nets' game against the Pistons were peppered with homages to Bryant. Nets players warmed up in red and yellow Chinese New Year T-shirts that also had "Bryant" written across the backs. Many fans showed up in Bryant's No. 24 Los Angeles Lakers jersey. One of Brooklyn's in-game hosts also wore a Bryant T-shirt. One arena usher even wore purple and gold lipstick and eyeshadow.

Spencer Dinwiddie also debuted his new jersey number for Wednesday's game. On Tuesday afternoon, Dinwiddie announced that he would be changing his No. 8 -- one of Bryant's former numbers -- to No. 26.