Portland Trail Blazers power forward Carmelo Anthony will not play in Friday’s road game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center.
While the team listed Anthony’s expected absence as “personal,” Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic shed a bit more light on the matter.
Anthony will not play Friday night against the Lakers “because of his continued grieving and emotions over the loss of Kobe Bryant on Sunday,” Charania reported in a video posted to the Stadium account on Twitter.
Anthony, 35, was close friends with Bryant, who died Sunday along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif.
Anthony posted a note on Instagram on Tuesday in which he said Bryant told him that he planned to attend Friday’s game.
“I hate when I have so much to say, but I can’t put any of it into words,” Anthony posted. “The times I have the most to say are the times that I can’t talk. I’m screaming inside but I can’t be heard. YOU don’t know how hard it is to try to pretend to smile when I have these clouds of emotions.
“… This pain is almost unbearable Champ! Why you bro? Why GiGi? Why leave Vanessa with this Sadness and Pain. WHY? This will never make sense to me. I know I’m not suppose to question GODs Will. I know GOD doesn’t make mistakes. It just seems like It always rains the hardest on those who deserve the sun. There are moments in life when there’s simply NO words to describe the pain within. This is one of them. YOU will continue to be Loved. YOU will be missed.”
Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard had no issue with Anthony’s decision to miss Friday’s game.
“I respect (Anthony’s decision to sit out). I know him and Kobe had a great relationship,” Lillard told USA Today Sports. “It’s something he was not ready to face and deal with. We all respect his decision.”
Emotions are expected to be raw on Friday for the Lakers, who haven’t played since their 108-91 loss to Philadelphia on Saturday. Los Angeles was scheduled to face the L.A. Clippers on Tuesday, but the NBA granted the Lakers’ request to postpone the game as the club grieved.