Individuals arrive to attend the “Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant” service at Staples Heart in Downtown Los Angeles on February 24, 2020. – Kobe Bryant, 41, and 13-year-old Gianna had been amongst 9 folks killed in a helicopter crash within the rugged hills west of Los Angeles on January 26. Frederic J. BROWN / AFP
Hundreds of celebrities, athletes, relations and followers poured into the Staples Heart in Los Angeles on Monday to honor basketball nice Kobe Bryant, who died final month in a helicopter crash that additionally killed his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and 7 others.
The general public memorial — dubbed “A Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant” — is being held within the enviornment the place Bryant wowed followers for almost 20 years whereas enjoying for the Los Angeles Lakers.
The two/24 date for the memorial carries particular significance because it coincides with Bryant’s jersey quantity — “24” — and Gianna’s “2” jersey quantity.
Fellow Laker legend Magic Johnson was amongst these attending the memorial, which is going down simply hours after the Lakers 114-112 win over the Boston Celtics at Staples Heart on Sunday.
“It’s hard in a two-minute, five-minute time to say everything he meant to the world, to the NBA and to basketball fans. He’s bigger than life,” Johnson mentioned forward of the sport on Sunday. “And it will take years to get over his passing and his daughter and the seven other people who lost their lives as well.”
Amongst different celebrities attending had been filmmaker Spike Lee — who was shut associates with Bryant and directed a documentary on his life — and rapper Snoop Dogg, an avid Lakers fan.
Most of the followers fortunate sufficient to nab one of many much-sought after 20,000 tickets for the memorial wore the gold and purple colours of the Lakers as they headed for the two-and-a-half hour ceremony scheduled to start out at 10 am (1800 GMT) amid tight safety.
“Kobe meant everything for this city, for this team and for me,” mentioned Karen Sanchez, 41, as she waited with associates to enter the world. “I watched him play from the beginning.”
Marcos Rojas, 23, one other ticketholder, mentioned Bryant’s January 26 loss of life close to Los Angeles had been devastating to followers like him who worshipped the participant.
“For me, it was like losing a friend,” mentioned Rojas who wore a Lakers jersey with Kobe’s quantity.
“I always watched him playing with my friends,” he advised AFP. “I always picked Kobe to play in my video games. I couldn’t leave home the day of his passing.”
These attending the memorial had been being given a 24-page program with footage of Bryant and his household in addition to a pin and black T-shirt that includes photos of Kobe and his daughter on the again.
Among the followers paid as much as $224 a ticket.