MILWAUKEE — The Milwaukee Bucks took the court for the first time Tuesday night since the death of NBA legend Kobe Bryant.
The Bucks planned several tributes that many fans came to experience firsthand.
Bucks fans poured into Fiserv Forum, but dozens traded green and white for purple and gold to honor a player whose unthinkable tragedy has consumed their thoughts, even the youngest in the crowd like Xander Martinez.
"I always had to teach him at a young age, Kobe was my number one basketball player," said Xander's father Claudio.
"I had to bring this back out and wear it," said Dominic Warzen. "Even like last night, too. I went through all my Kobe merchandise and my memorabilia, everything
Before Tuesday night's tip-off, fans paid tribute to Kobe with 24 seconds of silence.
Bucks players followed suit by purposefully taking a 24-second violation to start the game and the Washington Wizards returned the love with an 8-second backcourt violation. Both were Kobe's numbers throughout his illustrious NBA career.
"It's been hard. Every day I wake up in the morning, think about it. I think about it all day," Warzen added.
"What hurt the most was the family that he's leaving behind and just everyone that he impacted in life," said Charlene Laufer.
"His stories as a father to Gigi, I think that hurts the most is knowing that like, 'hey man, I've got a daughter too,'" said Danny Nguyen. "It's my daughter’s first game ever today so it kind of hits a little deep."
As fans left the game, a final farewell to Kobe could be seen on the Bucks’ 5th Street parking structure with a large billboard of the star.
"He wasn't old at all, he just retired," said Martinez. "It's something that like, wow. I still don't believe it."