LOS ANGELES – A public memorial service for Kobe Bryant, his daughter, and seven others killed in a helicopter crash is scheduled for February 24 at the Staples Center]
Bryant played in the arena for most of his two-decade career for the Los Angeles Lakers. The date 2/24 corresponds to the shirt No. 24 worn by him and the No. 2 daughter Gianna worn by his 13-year-old.
No official announcement was made about the monument. The person who made the information available to the AP is informed about the planning and only speaks on condition of anonymity. The Los Angeles Times was the first to report on the event, citing two anonymous sources with some knowledge of the planning.
The Mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, said a memorial would be held, but his office had no immediate comment, as did the Lakers or Staples Center.
Bryant was killed when he, his daughter, and the other helicopters in Calabasas, California crashed into a girl's basketball tournament at his Mamba Sports Academy against a mountain slope. Gianna's team was trained by Bryant and played in the tournament.
No reason for the crash was identified, although a preliminary report from the National Transportation Safety Board is expected shortly.
Spontaneously, fans swarmed over the Staples Center within hours of the January 26 crash and erected a giant memorial of flowers, balloons, jerseys, soft toys and basketballs. Items were removed on Monday and fans were asked to donate to a Bryant foundation instead of bringing more gifts and flowers.
Bryant's widow Vanessa requested some items to be cataloged and sent to the family. Flowers are composted and distributed around plants near the Staples Center.
Staples, which opened in 1999, was the site of other memorials, including for Michael Jackson and last year for rapper Nipsey Hussle. Bryant, who joined the NBA in 1996, played for the Lakers in the forum for three seasons.
The Los Angeles Clippers and the Memphis Grizzlies have a 7:30 p.m. Same day game in the arena.
A public memorial to baseball coach John Altobelli from Orange Coast College, his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa will be held on February 10th at Angel Stadium in Anaheim. Pilots Ara Zobayan and Bryant friends Christina Mauser, Sarah Chester and their daughter Payton were also killed in the crash.
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