It has been nearly a month since a helicopter crashed into a Calabasas hill on a foggy Sunday morning. On board were family members, friends, coaches, parents and their children, including Lakers legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna.
Disbelief spread nearly as quickly as news of the crash. People set to mourning collectively and individually. Paint dried, ink settled into skin, and a city speckled purple and gold.
Twenty-thousand mourners will fill downtown Staples Center — “the house that Kobe built” — on Monday at 10 a.m. to celebrate the lives of the 41-year-old Lakers star and his 13-year-old daughter. There is a powerful symbolism in having the public memorial on Feb. 24.
Outside the arena, screens will go dark, and the space around LA Live will be barricaded to those who do not have tickets to the sold-out memorial. Officials have advised the public to stay away from the vicinity. Those who didn’t receive a ticket to the memorial can still watch from home or elsewhere.
The event will cap weeks of tributes across the city following the Jan. 26 crash that also killed the helicopter pilot and parents, players and a coach on Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy basketball team.
Bryant and his daughter were buried in a private family service near the family’s Orange County home, according to death certificates.
A death certificate for Bryant states that his “final disposition” occurred Feb. 7 at Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona del Mar.
Since Bryant’s death, murals have popped up around the world — in New York, Massachusetts and Texas, and in the Philippines. Beneath them, fans have placed candles, flowers and personalized notes.
L.A. is a city of murals, its walls decorated with colorful portraits of La Virgen de Guadalupe, Martin Luther King Jr., Frida Kahlo and Nipsey Hussle. Within 24 hours of the fatal helicopter crash, businesses called on muralists to paint portraits of Bryant. In some cases, muralists sought out the walls themselves.