L.A. Mayor Planning Memorial for Kobe Bryant and Victims of Helicopter Crash: 'This City Is Broken'
"This is about somebody who was so much more than just how he was on the court," Mayor Eric Garcetti said
While describing the city as “broken,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced plans for a memorial service for NBA legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven others who were killed in a helicopter crash on Sunday.
Garcetti, who declared August 24th “Kobe Bryant Day” in 2016 after the five-time champion retired from the NBA, told reporters this week that the event is in the works, but officials have not settled on a date yet.
“There will absolutely be a memorial to mark the contributions of this incredible man and not only him, but to commemorate the loss of his daughter and all the other families that were there,” Garcetti, 48, said Thursday, according to KTLA. “We don’t have that date finalized but we’ve been talking every day to the Lakers, and most importantly, to [Bryant’s widow, Vanessa] as well.”
“I think one message that I would say is this is not just about a man who was a basketball player, this is about a father, this is about a leader, this is about a filmmaker, this is about an artist, this is about somebody who was so much more than just how he was on the court,” he added.
Much of Los Angeles has already been transformed into a memorial for the beloved basketball star.
All week, buildings in the city’s downtown area have been illuminated in purple and gold lights, the Lakers’ colors, in remembrance of Bryant. Murals — many showing both Bryant and his daughter — have also appeared around the city.
“It’s a reminder how much unity we have, though,” Garcetti continued Thursday. “We are one city that believes in each other, believes in something bigger than ourselves and we will absolutely do everything to make sure that this is done so that everybody can come to it as well.”
Staples Center — the arena where Bryant played most of his 20-year career — has served as the most prominent meeting place for fans to mourn. Since the day of the accident, hundreds have gathered outside of the arena every day to leave flowers, notes, basketballs, and jerseys in honor of Bryant.
Tributes have also poured in from around the NBA. Teams allowed the 24-second shot clock to run down to zero at the start of games, and players temporarily wore one of Bryant’s numbers while on the court.
Friday night will mark the first time LeBron James and the Lakers take the court following Bryant’s death. The team is expected to honor Bryant and the victims of the crash with a tribute.
Funeral services for Bryant and his daughter have not yet been announced by the family.