NBA

Updated 5:17 p.m. ET

Some 20,000 mourners packed the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Monday for the public memorial honoring legendary former NBA player Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who were killed along with seven other people in a helicopter crash last month.

The star-studded ceremony opened with a powerful performance by Beyoncé singing her song "XO" which she said was one of Bryant's favorite songs and includes the lyrics: "In the darkest hour / I'll search through the crowd / Your face is all I can see / I'll give you everything."

Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Maria Onore Bryant, known as "GiGi," died in a Sunday morning helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. They were among nine people on board, all of whom were killed in the crash.

The news of Bryant's death sent shock and sadness throughout the sports world and beyond. Stars from across the NBA, fans and friends poured their emotions into tributes on social media to honor one of the greatest players in basketball history.

Updated at 8:23 p.m. ET

Basketball legend Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday in Calabasas, Calif., the city's mayor has confirmed. Bryant was 41.

David Stern, a basketball Hall of Famer and former commissioner of the NBA, died on Wednesday at age 77. The NBA issued a statement saying that his death was the result of a brain hemorrhage that he suffered in mid-December.

Vice President Mike Pence scolded the NBA and Nike on Thursday for backing down from support for Hong Kong protesters after China complained.

"Some of the NBA's biggest players and owners, who routinely exercise their freedom to criticize this country, lose their voices when it comes to the freedom and rights of the people of China," Pence said in a speech about the Trump administration's China policy in Washington.

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has criticized a tweet sent by Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey in support of Hong Kong protesters, saying of Morey, "I believe he wasn't educated on the situation at hand."

James has just returned from the NBA's tense trip to China, where teams played exhibition games but many player appearances were canceled owing to the controversy over Morey's statement, which was deleted shortly after it was posted.

Updated at 7:32 p.m. ET

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is affirming the league will not censor players or front-office personnel, saying "freedom of expression" is paramount for the league, which has been criticized for its response to an employee's tweet about pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

Silver says the NBA is not apologizing for a now-deleted tweet from Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey that thrust the NBA into tumult over its business dealings in China in recent days.

The Houston Rockets' general manager apologized on Sunday for a tweet expressing support for Hong Kong protesters that has sparked a harsh backlash from China's official basketball association.

"I did not intend my tweet to cause any offense to Rockets fans and friends of mine in China ...," Daryl Morey tweeted on Sunday. "I have had a lot of opportunity since that tweet to hear and consider other perspectives."

Four people were wounded in Toronto when gunfire broke out at a rally to honor the newly minted NBA champion Raptors.

The shootings, which occurred midafternoon, sparked a stampede from Nathan Philips Square, near City Hall, where tens of thousands of fans had gathered to celebrate the hometown professional basketball team.

The Toronto Raptors have won their first NBA title, edging out the Golden State Warriors 114-110 in Game 6 of the NBA Finals at the Warriors' Oracle Arena in Oakland. Toronto completed the series 4-2.

In the final seconds the Raptors led by only one point, and the Warriors' Steph Curry missed a 3-pointer. Golden State got the ball in a scramble, but called a timeout it didn't have and was given a technical foul, causing some confusion. Raptor star Kawhi Leonard sank three game-clinching free throws, sealing Toronto's victory.

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