The death of fallen rapper Nipsey Hussle, a Los Angeles icon, hit Warriors center Jordan Bell hard.
"I thought it was fake at first," Bell, who was born in L.A. and went to high school in Long Beach, told NBC Sports Bay Area's Logan Murdock on March 31, the day of Hussle's death. "I started seeing more and more, so I went on Twitter and starting looking for verified accounts tweeting about it.
"You saw pictures of him shot in the head and all that s---. I don't know, it just f---ed me up. And finding out he died right before the game was tough, really tough."
As the Warriors' first-round playoffs series heads to L.A., Bell is honoring Hussle with a pair of customized shoes for Game 3 against the Clippers.
Jordan Bell's shoes for game three honor Nipsey Hussle. pic.twitter.com/MXKPtMMBQj
— Kerith Burke (@KerithBurke) April 19, 2019
Better views of the tribute cleats. pic.twitter.com/zQiBeavShq
— Logan Murdock (@loganmmurdock) April 19, 2019
Prior to Game 3, Murdock asked Bell what it means to wear the shoes in L.A.
"I mean everything," Bell said. "It's where I'm from and I think the passing of him kind of brought everybody. Even though we're not from the same exact place, we grew up from around the same area, so we're just showing love to him and what he meant to the whole city."
Hussle was shot in an L.A. strip mall outside of his own clothing store about 45 minutes before the Warriors' 137-90 win over the Hornets.
Many Warriors looked at Hussle as inspiration, someone who was setting an example to uplift undervalued and impoverished neighborhoods.
"He was setting examples with his actions. He was showing kids how to get money and keep money," Bell said. "I was like 'damn, I'm not buying no jewelry, I'm buying a house.'"