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The Sports Report: Tributes to Kobe Bryant continue to pour in

Kobe Bryant shares a laugh with his daughter, Gianna, while attending a women’s basketball game between Long Beach State and Oregon on Dec. 14, 2019.
Kobe Bryant with his daughter, Gianna, on Dec. 14, 2019.
(Ringo H.W. Chiu / Associated Press)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.

The sports world continues to reel over the death of Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, John Altobelli, Keri Altobelli; Alyssa Altobelli, Christina Mauser, Ara Zobayan, Sarah Chester and Payton Chester.

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Being in Los Angeles right now is surreal. People are randomly gathering in parking lots to discuss Kobe. Cars have Kobe banners attached. Construction cranes have Kobe flags. People are openly weeping outside Staples Center. The stores are filled with people wearing Kobe jerseys. It has been a difficult couple of days for many. It’s impossible to truly imagine what the families of all the departed are going through right now. But if you are a Lakers fan and have found the last 48 hours really tough, I can only say one thing: The scars you carry will remain, but the pain will slip away.

Here are a few of the stories we have published over the last 24 hours about the helicopter crash.

The grim, delicate task of removing remains from the Kobe Bryant crash site; 3 bodies removed so far

Bill Plaschke: Kobe Bryant’s reaction when I cursed him on TV showed the real Kobe, as he always did

Kobe Bryant helicopter pilot tried climbing just before ‘devastating’ crash, NTSB says

Media coverage of the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash included missteps, insights and tears

LeBron James breaks silence on Kobe Bryant’s death

Huge Kobe Bryant fans Justin Turner and Clayton Kershaw mourn his death

Here are some of the Mamba’s most memorable quotes

NBA postpones Lakers-Clippers game that was set for Tuesday

Mothers, fathers, daughters, coaches: Here are the 9 killed in the Kobe Bryant helicopter crash

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DODGERS

The 2017 World Series was buried deep in the recesses of Clayton Kershaw’s brain when the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scheme surfaced in November and unearthed the piercing memories again.

He has reflected on his start in Game 5 of that World Series at Minute Maid Park, site of the Astros’ cheating, in the weeks since the allegations emerged. He has wondered how much the Astros benefited from illegally using technology as they scored six runs in 4 2/3 innings off him to add another miserable chapter to his unsatisfactory postseason resume. He can’t help but imagine the Dodgers would’ve won the championship.

“At the same time, I can’t change it and we’re not going to win no matter what,” Kershaw said Monday at the Justin Turner Foundation’s annual charity golf event in Thousand Oaks. “So I’m just gonna move on.”

Read more baseball

Sign-stealing scandal: Should MLB restrict the use of technology or embrace it?

DUCKS

Patrick Marleau and Stefan Noesen each scored twice, and the San Jose Sharks beat the Ducks 4-2 Monday night.

Marleau moved past Hall of Famer Guy Lafleur and into a tie with Mike Modano for 25th place on the NHL’s career list with 561 goals. The 40-year-old also moved past Rod Brind’Amour for 50th on the all-time points list with 1,185 — including 1,101 with the Sharks.

Ondrej Kase and Nick Ritchie scored for Anaheim, which was seeking its first three-game winning streak since winning its first three to start the season. The Ducks have lost eight of their last 11 (3-7-1). John Gibson finished with 27 saves.

NFL

Kickoff was still six days away Monday when Super Bowl LIV made history.

The moment arrived when an offensive assistant for the San Francisco 49ers stepped onto the stage as the NFL opened its championship week.

Katie Sowers is the Super Bowl’s first female and openly gay coach.

“In order to dream about something you’ve got to see it,” she said. “You have to know that it exists. You have to know that it’s out there. That’s what’s important.”

So there she was with the rest of the 49ers, more visible than ever before, standing between two prominent media scrums, one shouting questions at tight end George Kittle and the other at defensive tackle DeForest Buckner.

The players were seated on risers and armed with microphones.

Sowers was on her own, flanked by security guards and positioned behind the sort of barriers used to corral lines at airports. But she was no less popular than either of those star 49ers.

Read more NFL

Joe Buck sees familiar tie with father, Jack, as he prepares for Super Bowl broadcast

Baltimore Ravens employee Chad Steele has ‘coolest’ assignment at Super Bowl

USC FOOTBALL

C.J. Pollard, a safety who starred at Serra High before joining USC, will leave the Trojans to play his final season elsewhere as a graduate transfer.

Pollard announced his intention to enter the NCAA transfer portal on Monday morning.

“I would like to say thank you to USC Athletics for giving me the opportunity to compete as a student-athlete and earn a degree from a prestigious private university,” Pollard wrote on Twitter.

A Carson native, Pollard played mostly a bit part on USC’s defense over four seasons. He enrolled at USC in 2016, following in the footsteps of his father, Marvin, who was a Trojan cornerback from 1988-91.

TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific.

None scheduled.

BORN ON THIS DATE

1874: Golfer Alex Smith (d. 1930)

1907: Golfer Henry Cotton (d. 1987)

1927: Boxing promoter Don Fraser (d. 2019)

1932: Shot putter Parry O’Brien (d. 2007)

1934: Baseball player/NL president Bill White

1949: Basketball coach Gregg Popovich

1957: Golfer Nick Price

1962: Former Clipper Michael Cage

1976: Former Laker Mark Madsen

1984: Basketball player Andre Iguodala

DIED ON THIS DATE

1991: Football player Red Grange, 87

2004: Former Ram Elroy “Crazy Legs” Hirsch, 80

AND FINALLY

The NBA pays tribute to Kobe Bryant. Watch it here.

Until next time...
That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.


Newsletter
Go beyond the scoreboard

Get the latest on L.A.'s teams in the daily Sports Report newsletter.

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