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How the Raptors and Spurs came together to honor Kobe Bryant with two shot-clock violations

In an effort to pay tribute to Kobe Bryant, the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs did something they believed was small. At the start of the game, which began only 90 minutes after news broke that Bryant had died, both teams took 24-second shot-clock violations. They did so in honor of Bryant, who wore No. 24 late in his career.

What those teams didn’t realize was how much that gesture would resonate with the rest of the league. Every team that played after the Raptors and Spurs followed suit Sunday. In total, seven of the eight NBA games that took place Sunday started with two 24-second violations. The only game that didn’t start that way — the Houston Rockets vs. the Denver Nuggets — started at the same time as the Raptors-Spurs game. The Rockets and Nuggets held a moment of silence for Bryant.

Following the Raptors’ 110-106 win, the team was asked how the idea came about. No player directly mentioned who came up with the idea, but said it happened just before the start of the game.

Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan said Raptors head coach Nick Nurse talked to Spurs head coach Greg Popovich about the gesture. After talking it over, the Spurs agreed to it.

“Nick Nurse came over and I think he mentioned something to Pop. We all talked about it. I don’t know who exactly came up with it, but once we heard it, we respected it on both ends and that’s why we did what we did.”

Raptors guard Fred VanFleet said Nurse mentioned the gesture to VanFleet right before he went out on the court.

“Nurse said something to me right before we out ... He asked me about it and I said, ‘Sure, I think it’s the least we can do.’ I think he talked to Pop and they talked about it and they did it again, so we proceeded with the game after they took theirs. Not that that amounts to anything, but you try to show your respects as best you can.”

Toronto forward Norman Powell didn’t mention any specific names. He just said the Raptors discussed the move just before the game started.

“We talked about it, right before tipoff, what we were going to do. Can’t do much, but I think just honoring him, representing what he stood for and what he stands for is how you honor his legacy and the type of guy he was.”

That tribute continued Monday night, as a number of teams followed suit and took 24-second violations. A few teams took 8-second back-court violations to pay tribute to Bryant’s No. 8, which he wore early in his career.

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