Carmelo Anthony Misses Lakers' First Game Since Kobe Bryant's Death for 'Personal Reasons'

Carmelo Anthony did not play against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday following the death of Kobe Bryant. The Portland Trail Blazers star, 35, missed the match — which was the Lakers’ first game since Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and...

Carmelo Anthony Misses Lakers' First Game Since Kobe Bryant's Death for 'Personal Reasons'

Carmelo Anthony did not play against the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday following the death of Kobe Bryant.

The Portland Trail Blazers star, 35, missed the match — which was the Lakers’ first game since Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other victims died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California on Sunday —  due to what coach Terry Stotts described as “personal reasons,” according to USA Today Sports.

“I respect it. I know him and Kobe had a great relationship,” Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard told the publication. “It’s something he was not ready to face and deal with. We all respect his decision.”

While it remains unclear the exact reason for Anthony’s absence, Entertainment Tonight reported that the athlete decided not to play because “it’s too hard for him” after Bryant’s death. The NBA legend was 41.

RELATED: Lakers Are All Introduced as Kobe Bryant in an Emotional Tribute Before First Game Since Fatal Crash

Bryant and his daughter Gianna — nicknamed “Gigi” — were on their way to a youth basketball game with parents and players from the Mamba Sports Academy girls’ team on Sunday when their helicopter crashed amid foggy conditions on a hill in Calabasas, Calif. The two died alongside pilot Ara Zobayan, Sarah and Payton Chester, Christina Mauser, John Altobelli, his wife Keri Altobelli and their daughter, Alyssa Altobelli.

On Wednesday, Anthony shared a touching tribute to Bryant by remembering his last phone conversation with his longtime friend.

“Damn Bro!!                     </div>

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