When it was stated by a reporter that Bryant was an institution with the Lakers, Howard first responded with a long pause. Then he offered a simple non-answer.
“Let Kobe retire in peace,” Howard said.
The Lakers, with Bryant, have always had a large contingent of fans at Philips Arena in his career. Many fans carried signs of support for the future Hall of Famer.
Paul Millsap said Wednesday he hoped that the absence of Bryant would swing the crowd more in favor of the Hawks.
“Hopefully a lot less Lakers fans,” Millsap said.