ENTERTAINMENT

Kobe Bryant's Memorial To Be Held Feb. 24 At L.A.'s Staples Center

Family, fans and friends can pay tribute to the basketball legend at his home court.

The public memorial for NBA legend Kobe Bryant will be held at Staples Center, the home court for the Los Angeles Lakers, on Feb. 24.

The date represents the jersey numbers worn by Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, also a victim of the helicopter crash that killed nine people on Jan. 26 in Calabasas, California.

Kobe, 41, retired from basketball in 2016, and the Lakers retired both of his jersey numbers, 8 and 24, in 2017. Gianna, a rising star athlete, played basketball and wore the No. 2 jersey for both the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, with Kobe as her coach, and at her school, Harbor Day School, in Newport Beach.

Harbor Day School retired Gianna’s jersey number on Wednesday during a memorial for the eighth-grader.

On the day of Bryant’s death, his fans gathered at Staples Center to mourn. They formed a massive memorial of flowers, basketballs, jerseys and more at the plaza fronting the arena, which displayed an image of Bryant on a large screen.

People continued to pour into the courtyard despite police warnings to keep out as the Grammy Awards took place the day of the fatal crash. As celebrities arrived for the show in gowns and suits, mourners stood by in Kobe Bryant jerseys. 

That day, hundreds of people stood outside Staples Center and chanted, “Thank you, Kobe!”

Seven other people died in the private helicopter crash, including Orange Coast College’s head baseball coach, John Altobelli, his wife, Keri, and his daughter Alyssa.

Christina Mauser, a top assistant coach for the Mamba basketball team, and Sarah Chester and her daughter Payton, a middle school student, also died in the accident, as well as pilot Ara Zobayan. The cause of the crash is still being investigated.

Kobe and Gianna are survived by Kobe’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, and their daughters Natalia, Bianka and Capri.

Vanessa Bryant launched a fundraiser to support the other families affected by the crash through the family’s Mamba Sports Foundation.

The Clippers, Los Angeles’ other NBA team, will be playing a game against the Memphis Grizzlies at Staples Center at 7:30 p.m. on the day of Bryant’s public memorial.