Kobe Bryant Mourners Gather Outside Staples Center to Remember Basketball Great

Within hours of the news of Kobe Bryant’s death breaking, a fast-growing crowd of about two hundred people had gathered outside of the Staples Center in Los Angeles on Sunday to mourn the Lakers legend, who died earlier that day in a helicopter crash.

Chants of “Kobe! Kobe!” broke out spontaneously outside of the sports venue, home court to the Los Angeles Lakers. A black-and-white photo of Bryant populated screens featuring the message “In Loving Memory of Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020,” which was displayed outside the Staples Center and Microsoft Theater, where the Grammys were under way Sunday night.

Soon after, mourners chanted and clapped “Thank you, Kobe” to commemorate the NBA’s fourth all-time highest scorer and basketball icon. Many people could be seen on their way to the Staples Center in Lakers and Bryant jerseys, many carrying flowers to the venue. Several of the people in attendance were weeping. Not far away from the Staples Center, people had already begun leaving flowers and candles at a mural depicting Bryant.

Later that evening, during the Grammys ceremony, fans continued to gather outside of the Microsoft Theater. Richard Carranza, waving a Lakers flag, had made the drive from Santa Fe Springs to remember Bryant. He got emotional while recounting what the NBA star meant to him.

“It’s a big loss to the city of L.A.,” said the 55-year-old, “It’s a big loss to the NBA in total… I know a lot of people are mourning, right now, for him.”

Dee Armenta, a 25-year-old Orange County native who showed up to the arena wearing a Bryant jersey, said that she has been a fan since she was 8 years old. As someone who played basketball growing up, she said she would “literally mimic his shooting form” and the faces he would make while playing.

“When he retired especially, it was like a bittersweet feeling,” said Armenta. “And now, it’s just very heartbreaking so I figured I’d come here to pay my respects.”

For those in Southern California who grew up watching Bryant and the Lakers, the loss was immensely personal.

“It’s almost like he’s a member of our family,” said Huntington Beach resident Michelle Turoczi, also donning Lakers gear. “It’s hard. It’s [a] shock.”

“It feels good to be around the other fans, sharing memories and hearing what everyone else has to say and remember about him,” she added.

At a news conference Sunday afternoon, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said that nine people were on board the helicopter, including Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. The identities of the other passengers have not yet been released. There were no survivors.

Bryant was traveling via private helicopter when it crashed in Calabasas, a suburb of Los Angeles; it was said to be en route to her basketball game in Thousand Oaks.

In addition to the makeshift memorial downtown at the Staples Center, fans have also gathered in Calabasas, per local televised news coverage, as well as outside of a Kobe Bryant mural at Shoe Palace on Melrose, according to Los Angeles Times reporter Brittny Mejia.

His death sent shock waves locally and nationally, prompting an outpouring of remembrances from Southern California and beyond. Disney CEO Bob Iger, fellow basketball icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Ellen DeGeneres were among those to publicly share their condolences.

“Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act,” wrote former President Barack Obama on Twitter. “To lose Gianna is even more heartbreaking to us as parents. Michelle and I send love and prayers to Vanessa and the entire Bryant family on an unthinkable day.”

More Biz

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Weinstein Jury Ends First Day of Deliberation With No Verdict

    The jury in the Harvey Weinstein trial has ended the first day of deliberations without reaching a verdict. The jury got the case on Tuesday morning after a six-week trial, in which six women took the stand to accuse the disgraced producer of sexual assault. Weinstein faces five counts, including two counts of predatory sexual [...]

  • CDBaby logo

    CD Baby Is Shutting Down Its Retail Store

    As if the name “CD Baby” weren’t already an anachronism, the independent distributor announced late last week that it is shutting down its retail store, although it will continue to distribute physical product through other channels. “CD Baby’s mission is to help artists monetize and promote their music in the best ways possible,” a message [...]

  • Harvey Weinstein

    Harvey Weinstein Jury Requests to See Evidence During Start of Deliberation

    The jury in the Harvey Weinstein trial asked to be shown the blueprints of his Soho apartment, and some Weinstein emails in which certain accusers’ names were highlighted. The 12-person panel began deliberating earlier on Tuesday morning, after Justice James Burke read them instructions. Weinstein is accused of sexually assaulting Miriam Haley at the Soho [...]

  • American alternative rock band Pearl Jam

    Pearl Jam Tell Congressmen BOSS Ticket-Reform Act Is ‘Flawed’

    UPDATED: The BOSS Act is legislation designed to crack down on improper practices in the secondary ticket market — bots, price-gougers and the like — spearheaded by New Jersey Democratic Congressmen Bill Pascrell and Frank Pallone Jr. The bill, which is officially named the “Better Oversight of Secondary Sales and Accountability in Concert Ticketing Act” [...]

  • Sofar Sounds Unveils a Battery of

    Sofar Sounds Unveils a Battery of New Programs for Artists

    Sofar Sounds — which has made a name and a business for itself by staging “secret gigs and intimate concerts” featuring emerging artists for an invited, engaged audience — today unveiled a series of new programs intended to serve artists better, including a new payment model that will see artists paid more for playing bigger [...]

  • The Night Manager Network

    Endeavor Content Takes Minority Stake in 'Night Manager' Producer Ink Factory

    Endeavor Content has taken a minority stake in “The Night Manager” producer The Ink Factory. Under the deal, the “Killing Eve” and “Night Manager” distributor is to set up a bespoke development fund for Ink Factory. The pact will specifically target the U.S. market with high-end TV series developed out of Ink Factory’s U.S. outpost [...]

  • David Coulthard, Sunil Patel, Jake Humphrey

    Sony Pictures Television Takes Minority Stake in U.K. Sports Producer Whisper

    Sony Pictures Television has invested in U.K. sports-focused production outfit Whisper Group. Effective immediately, the business will replace Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund as a minority stakeholder in Whisper, which has become a leading voice in sports entertainment. Founded by BAFTA-winning CEO Sunil Patel, broadcaster Jake Humphrey and F1 commentator David Coulthard, Whispers covers NFL, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content