LOS ANGELES -- With the Los Angeles Lakers and the city of Los Angeles grieving the deaths of Kobe Bryant and eight others, the NBA postponed the Lakers' game against the LA Clippers on Tuesday at Staples Center.
Discussions between the NBA, the Lakers and the Clippers took place over several hours before the NBA's decision, with the Clippers honoring the Lakers' request to postpone the game, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The game will be rescheduled at a later date.
"The decision was made out of respect for the Lakers organization, which is deeply grieving the tragic loss of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people in a helicopter crash on Sunday," the NBA said in a statement.
The sports world was shaken by the stunning news Sunday that Bryant, 41, his daughter Gianna, 13, and seven others died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California.
While flying back from Philadelphia on Sunday afternoon, the Lakers team was shocked to learn of Bryant's death when some staff members started receiving text messages, according to a source. Head coach Frank Vogel then told the players.
The Lakers canceled practice Monday, as the entire organization was trying to deal with the grief. It was determined that the Lakers organization couldn't put on the operations of having a game Tuesday, ESPN's Ramona Shelburne reported.
"The Los Angeles Lakers would like to thank all of you for the tremendous outpouring of support and condolences," the team said in a statement released Monday. "This is a very difficult time for all of us. We continue to support the Bryant family and will share more information as it is available."
Bryant played 20 seasons with the Lakers and had many relationships with those in and around the organization. Bryant was extremely close to Jeanie Buss, controlling owner and president. Bryant and Rob Pelinka, his longtime agent and now vice president of basketball operations/GM of the Lakers, were also very close.
On Monday night, LeBron James made his first public comments in an Instagram post including several photos of himself with Bryant. The four-time NBA MVP and 16-time All-Star said he is "heartbroken and devastated" and had been crying repeatedly while trying to write about Bryant.
The organization brought grief counselors to the team facility Monday to provide comfort and guidance in both group and one-on-one sessions, a source told ESPN's Dave McMenamin. Employees were also given materials with coping advice.
The Lakers players will gather for a lunch and a light workout Tuesday, a team source told McMenamin. They will practice Wednesday and have media availability.
The NBA said that since 1963, there have been only 14 other games postponed due to tragic events or circumstances surrounding safety other than weather or technical-related issues. In April 2013, a game in Boston against Indiana was canceled following the Boston Marathon bombing that killed three and injured at least 264 people.
The city of Los Angeles is mourning the deaths of Bryant and his daughter. Fans have been visiting makeshift memorials at places around the city, including outside the Lakers' team facility in El Segundo, California, and outside Staples Center.
Even after midnight Sunday, fans were gathered in the middle of L.A. Live, just a few steps from Staples Center, to pay respects and remember Bryant and Gigi. Boyz II Men's "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" and Puff Daddy's "I'll Be Missing You" played, and fans broke out in periodic chants of "KOBE!" and "MVP!" around four candle-lit memorials that had flowers, oversized teddy bears, Bryant jerseys and pictures.
The Clippers played in Orlando on Sunday, hours after learning of Bryant's death. Clippers coach Doc Rivers broke down in tears talking pregame about Bryant and admitted that he had no idea what he would say to his team or how his players would cope. The Clippers beat the Magic 112-97.
Rivers told the media after the win that his players requested that the locker room be closed to give the team some space.
Clippers guard Lou Williams, who played alongside Bryant with the Lakers, tweeted Monday afternoon about how he was trying to cope.
"Been crying on and off," tweeted Williams, who played with Bryant in 2015-16. "Have a random thought about things we spoke about then laugh. Cry again. Then I tell myself tighten up, mamba was tough. Wipe my eyes. Cry again RIPKOBE."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.