LOS ANGELES—The Los Angeles Lakers and Kobe Bryant revitalized Downtown Los Angeles moving from The Forum in Inglewood to the Staples Center in 2000; instilling pride, drive and ambition in the hearts of the entire community that reached beyond the vast scope of the city. A public memorial for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna will take place at Staples Center on Monday, February 24 at 10:00 a.m. Thousands of fans will fill the “House that Kobe Built,” flooding L.A. Live to say goodbye to an icon whose life and dedication inspired a generation to realize their full potential.
Tickets will be available to the public on a first come first serve basis. Law enforcement will not allow anyone without a ticket to be near the arena due to the massive crowds. Unfortunately, the memorial will not be broadcast on jumbo screens outside Staples or L.A. Live. According to TMZ, “friends, family, NBA officials and players, season ticket holders and local politicians,” will get top priority first.
Last Friday, Kobe and Gianna were laid to rest in a private ceremony in Corona Del Mar. “Vanessa and the family wanted a private service to mourn their loss,” said a source. Adding: “The ceremony was extremely hard for everyone as its still hard to grasp they lost two beautiful souls.”
On Monday, February 10, a memorial was held for the Altobelli family at Angels Stadium in Anaheim. A total of 4,000 people attended the event honoring Orange Coast College baseball manager, John Altobelli, his wife Keri, and daughter Alyssa. Alyssa was a close friend and teammate of Gigi on their basketball team. The helicopter was en route to a game in Thousand Oaks at the Mamba Sports Academy.
Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s wife and Gigi’s mother is experiencing a profound tragedy that not many of us could never comprehend or fathom. She posted a moving and raw post on Instagram describing her grief and anger following the helicopter crash that took her husband and sweet daughter.
“I’ve been reluctant to put my feelings into words. My brain refuses to accept that both Kobe and Gigi are gone. I can’t process both at the same time. It’s like I’m trying to process Kobe being gone but my body refuses to accept my Gigi will never come back to me. It feels wrong. Why should I be able to wake up another day when my baby girl isn’t being able to have that opportunity?! I’m so mad. She had so much life to live. Then I realize I need to be strong and be here for my 3 daughters. Mad I’m not with Kobe and Gigi but thankful I’m here with Natalia, Bianka and Capri. I know what I’m feeling is normal. It’s part of the grieving process. I just wanted to share in case there’s anyone out there that’s experienced a loss like this.”
The date of the public memorial has significance, Gianna wore the No. 2, Kobe wore the No. 24 starting in the 2006 season, while Bryant remained loyal to the Purple and Gold, spending his entire 20 year career as a Los Angeles Laker. Makeshift tributes and memorials have popped up around the world, most notably outside Staples Center. Flowers, heartfelt messages and candles surrounded L.A. Live, as fans mourn, consoling one another trying in vain to come to terms with his loss.
Staples Center is the appropriate venue for this ‘Celebration of Life.’ Rapper Nipsey Hussle and King of Pop Michael Jackson had their public memorials at Staples. Mayor of Los Angeles Eric Garcetti spoke on the legacy of Kobe Bryant.
“I think one message that I would say is this is not just about a man who was a basketball player, this is about a father, this is about a leader, this is about a filmmaker, this is about an artist, this is about somebody who was so much more than just how he was on the court.”
We experienced a tremendous sense of loss and shock when the first reports of Bryant’s helicopter crashed on the foggy morning of Sunday, January 26 in Calabasas killing the NBA superstar, his 13-year old daughter and seven others. In the wake of this senseless tragedy, which somehow deeply affected us personally on numerous levels. Among the victims are children (Payton Chester, Alyssa Altobelli), mothers (Sarah Chester, Keri Altobelli, Christina Mauser), fathers (John Altobelli and Kobe Bryant), as well as pilot Ara Zobayan.
Before our eyes we watched his incredible journey and life from a 17 year-old brash, motivated kid mature into a courageous NBA icon, Oscar winning filmmaker and loving father. His fierce desire and intensity led the Lakers to five NBA titles. The obsessive will to win combined with his innate athleticism and strength crushed any obstacle standing between him and greatness. Even people who don’t care for sports or basketball appreciate and respect Bryant’s talent both on and off the court. The Staples Center is located at 1111 S Figueroa St.