Wed. Oct 28th, 2020

Kobe Bryant memorial set for Feb. 24 at Staples Center

Los Angeles will hold a memorial for the nine victims of the helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.

The event is slated for Feb. 24 at Staples Center, a person with knowledge of the event told USA TODAY Sports on condition of anonymity because it has not been announced.

The Los Angeles Times first reported the details.

The Staples Center, home to the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers, also was the site for the public memorial for Michael Jackson and Nipsey Hussle. No information on time or tickets was available.

The Lakers are off Feb. 24 and the Clippers play at Staples at 7:30 PT.

Last Friday, the Lakers played their first game since Bryant’s death. Before the game, Usher and Boyz II Men performed, video tributes were shown and LeBron James spoke from the heart about what Bryant’s death meant to him and how the Lakers would carry on Bryant’s legacy.

On Wednesday night, Harbor Day School retired Gianna Bryant’s No. 2 jersey.

Bryant, 41, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Jan. 26. The news shocked fans around the world. Most notably, the basketball community has been emotionally rocked as former teammates and competitors broke down in interviews with reporters and paid tribute to the five-time NBA champion with special shoes, jersey patches and video tributes. 

As fans mourn the death of an NBA icon, authorities still are in the early stages of investigating the crash and its potential causes — a process that could take several weeks. Multiple federal agencies, including the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration, have joined local authorities in their efforts to understand what caused the helicopter to slam into a hillside. The NTSB is expected to release its preliminary report this week.

Bryant retired in 2016 as a five-time NBA champion, 11-time All-NBA first-team selection, 2008 MVP, two-time Finals MVP, 18-time All-Star and four-time All-Star MVP who spent his 20-year career with the Lakers. He also won gold medals with USA Basketball at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics.

Bryant settled into post-basketball life with a variety of projects. He won an Oscar in 2018 for his animated short film “Dear Basketball,” opened the Mamba Sports Academy training facility to help athletes improve and oversaw a series of sports fantasy children’s books. His last sit-down interview was with USA TODAY Sports and he talked about what his future held and why family was so important to him.

The helicopter was en route to his Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks, California, for an AAU basketball game.

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