A public memorial service for NBA star Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and seven other people killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, is scheduled for Feb. 24, multiple law enforcement sources familiar with planning the event told NBC News.
The date is significant because it reflects both Bryant and Gianna’s jersey numbers.
Bryant used the No. 24 jersey on the Los Angeles Lakers, and Gianna, who played on a basketball team at her father’s Mamba Sports Academy and aspired to the WNBA, used No. 2.
The memorial will be held at the Staples Center, which is home to the Lakers and often referred to as the “house that Kobe built.”
Bryant, one of the most influential basketball players of the late 1990s and the early 21st century, played for the Los Angeles team his entire 20-year career until his retirement in 2016.
The arena has become a gathering place for Bryant’s fans as they mourn his death. The athlete and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were among nine people killed in the Jan. 26 helicopter crash.
To pay their respects for the NBA superstar, thousands of fans left flowers, basketballs, candles and other items outside the arena. The makeshift memorial was dismantled, and some of the items were given to Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, per her request.
The other victims in the crash included the pilot, Ara Zobayan; John Altobelli, the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California; his wife, Keri; and their daughter Alyssa.
The Angels Stadium in Anaheim said in a press release this week that it will be hosting a celebration of life for the Altobelli family on Feb. 10.
Also killed in the crash were Christina Mauser, a coach, and Sarah Chester and her 13-year-old daughter, Payton Chester. Payton was also a player at Mamba Sports Academy, where the helicopter was headed to when it crashed in foggy weather.
Harbor Day School in Newport Beach, which Gianna attended, held a ceremony Wednesday night to honor her and retire her basketball jersey.
source: NBC News