NBA Player Jusuf Nurkic Slammed For Interrupting Kobe Bryant Tribute
An NBA player has been slammed by fans for being disrespectful after interrupting a tribute for the late Kobe Bryant.
Portland Trailblazers' Damian Lillard was in the middle of an emotionally-charged interview when teammate Jusuf Nurkic came up from behind and halted his tribute.
Speaking about the LA Lakers legend, Lillard said it was important to play the game in the spirit the 41-year-old would have wanted.
He said: "I think everyone had a lot of emotions coming in and then the videos, the music, it was one of those moments.
"It was one of our legends, icons in the world not just our game passing away."
In the clip, Nurkic can be seen in the background joking around in other interviews before coming up behind Lillard, popping his head in, and saying something to his teammate.
Dame on honoring Kobe and dropping 48 PTS: "The one thing that we know for sure we had in common with Kobe: the love of this game, and we here so we might as well come out and honor him this way." pic.twitter.com/JPPWWk8Bpx- Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) February 1, 2020
And while it's not clear what he says, viewers watching the broadcast criticised the player.
Writing on Twitter, one person said: "Jusuf Nurkic is so damn disrespectful."
A second viewer commented: "I find it disrespectful that Nurkic video bombing post game interview trying to be funny after an emotional game. Not the time to do that tbh."
"Damn shame this interview is cut short because of Jusuf Nurkic," wrote a third.
A fourth critic said: "That would be Jusuf Nurkic, who just won the award for biggest clown in the NBA."
While another added: "Jusuf Nurkic interrupting Damian's interview when talking about Kobe. What a clown."
Following the interview, Nurkic tweeted his own tribute to Bryant and his daughter Gianna, writing: "Very emotional night. #Mamba4ever people die but legends live forever!! #RIPKobe #RIPGiGi."
The interview followed the Lakers' 119-127 loss to the Blazers.
It was the team's first game since Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter died in a helicopter crash last week.
The crash also claimed the lives of seven others: basketball coach John Altobelli; his wife, Keri; and their daughter Alyssa; Payton Chester and her mother Sarah; Christina Mauser; and pilot Ara Zobayan.
To commemorate the NBA legend's life, Lakers players wore shirts with Bryant's numbers - eight and 24 - during their warm-up, and the initials KB were printed on the court.
The team also placed Kobe's 24 jersey and Gianna's Mamba strip on two court-side seats where they watched their last game together.
Each of the Lakers players was then also introduced as "Number eight, Kobe Bryant."
Singer Usher, stood in front of a bunch of yellow roses arranged the the shape of Bryant's jersey, then sang an emotionally charged rendition of 'Amazing Grace'.
Current player LeBron James led the tributes to the pair.
He said: "This is a celebration of the 20 years of sweat, the tears, the broken down body, the getting up.
"Sitting down to everything, the countless hours, the determination to be as great as he could be.
"Tonight we celebrate the kid who came here at 18 years of age, retired at 38 and became the best dad we've seen over the last three years."
Featured Image Credit: ESPN