NBA Rumor: Kobe Bryant Memorial

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“It’s just been a very heavy month. It’s everywhere,” Rivers said of Los Angeles, which has been grieving since the helicopter crash that killed Kobe and Gianna Bryant and seven others on Jan. 26. “There’s days you get away from it — like, the games are great now because you’re focused on the games — but you know, it’s just … it’s broken or just broken-hearted. “It’s been a broken-hearted city. Probably something I’ve never seen before, ever, anywhere, and it’s still there a little bit, for sure. But today will help.”

Since his death at age 41, the nation has mourned the loss of the NBA Hall of Famer, who was an 18-time All-Star and 15-time member of the All-NBA Team. Bryant, Collins said, was one of his favorite professional basketball players. “I loved what he brought to the game,” he said. Collins, who has built customized designer caskets for roughly a decade over his 47 years, said social media led to what he called this humbling assignment. Through social networking, he said, a friend of Bryant’s family reached out to ask if Collins could create some type of memorial art to honor Kobe and the other victims.

“This is nothing people have ever seen. This is something I created,” Collins said from his work site off Collins Place on the edge of Elizabethtown. “And the whole vision behind it – I cannot take the pain away. I try to capture moments to bring back life, energy and the inspiration of the loved ones and their legacy.” The casket, which he said cost $13,000, was built over 3½ days. Donations helped cover the cost, and the names of those donors have been added to a picture of Bryant’s jersey that is meant to be part of the tribute memorial set.

On Monday morning, about 20,000 people — celebrities, athletes, family members, fans and friends — will fill Staples Center to honor Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, who were among nine people killed in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 near Calabasas, Calif. The public memorial, called “A Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant,” is expected to run from about 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Pacific time, Zeidman said, followed by several invitation-only receptions. An undisclosed number of tickets were sold to the general public through a lottery. Those who were unable to purchase tickets will not be permitted access to L.A. Live, the entertainment complex adjacent to Staples Center. Officials are discouraging people from trying to congregate near the arena.

Los Angeles will come to a stop Monday to publicly memorialize Kobe and Gianna Bryant at the Staples Center. When Vanessa Bryant announced the pubic service on Instagram earlier this month, she pointed out the symbolism in the date: 2/24/20. Two for the number Gianna, aka “Mambacita,” wore. Twenty-four for the number Kobe wore during the second half of his career. And twenty, for the years Kobe and Vanessa spent together. Kobe and Gianna were buried in a private ceremony on Feb. 7, according to records.

It will be difficult to sum up the former Lakers star’s impact as the team prepares a memorial for Bryant and his daughter Gianna on Monday at Staples Center. “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 said before the Lakers’ 114-112 win over the Boston Celtics on Sunday at Staples Center. “And it will take years to get over his passing and his daughter and the seven other people who lost their lives as well.”
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January 25, 2021 | 10:04 pm EST Update