Vanessa Bryant announces public memorial for Kobe and Gianna following tragic helicopter crash 


Vanessa Bryant took to Instagram on Friday to share an invitation to a public memorial for her late husband Kobe and daughter Gianna.

The image included 24 butterflies in purple and yellow, which are the colors of the Lakers, the basketball team Kobe played with for 20 years. 

The event, which will take place February 24 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, was already announce the day before.  

The date was a conscious choice, as two was Gianna’s jersey number, 24 was Kobe’s and 20 is the amount of years he was a Laker.

To pay further tribute to the sports legend’s number, the invitation is also printed with 24 butterflies.

The event is scheduled for 10am, as the Clippers play the Memphis Grizzlies later that evening.

According to TMZ, Clippers owner Steve Ballmer and coach Doc Rivers had to sign off, as they technically have the arena rented for the day.

But it was an easy decision, given the solidarity for Kobe and his family, as well as the significance of the date.

Space might be an issue, as the Staples Center holds 20,000, compared to the 80,000 capacity of the Coliseum, which was another choice.

When Michael Jackson and Nipsey Hussle’s memorials were held at Staples, the surrounding blocks were closed off to anyone who didn’t have a ticket. 

But it seemed to be the most meaningful choice, as it’s where Kobe played for the majority of his 20-year career with the Lakers.

The outside of the arena has served as somewhat of a makeshift memorial, where thousands of fans visited to pay their respects.

Vanessa has requested to receive some of the candles, basketballs, stuffed animals and other items left in tribute to Kobe and Gigi. 

In addition to the upcoming memorial, the Lakers honored Bryant on their first game after his death in several ways.

The marquee outside the Staples Center read, ‘Rest in peace Kobe and Gigi’ when they played the Portland Trail Blazers last Friday.

The team also put patches with Bryant’s initials on their jerseys and placed t-shirts with his name and number on the seats of the arena.

Kobe and Gianna were among the nine people who died in a tragic helicopter crash on January 26 in Calabasas.

The other people who lost their lives were pilot Ara Zobayan, baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri, their daughter Alyssa, mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester and Mamba Academy basketball coach Christina Mauser.

Seats at Friday’s game quickly became a hot commodity, with USA Today reporting that as of Thursday afternoon, tickets ranged from $780 and $6,534. 

StubHub announced on Wednesday that they are donating profits from Friday’s game to the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation. 

StubHub general manager Akshay Khanna said: ‘In honor of Kobe and Gigi Bryant, all fees for the January 31st Lakers versus Portland Trailblazers game and the Lakers versus Clippers game – for whenever it is rescheduled – will be donated to the Kobe & Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation.’

The game between the Lakers and Clippers was originally scheduled for last Tuesday, but it was postponed to an undetermined date after the tragedy. 


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