The Latest: Somber fans take seats for Kobe Bryant memorial

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Janel Alexander, 55, of Encino, poses next to a mural that features Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neil inside Staples Center in Los Angeles before a public memorial for Lakers legend Bryant and his daughter Gianna Monday morning, Feb. 24, 2020. Alexander said she wanted to attend the memorial to support Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, so she could feel “the presence of love around her.” (AP Photo/Stefanie Dazio)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on the public memorial for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna in downtown Los Angeles (all times local):

10 a.m.

Los Angeles Lakers fans are pulling on commemorative T-shirts they were given of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna at a public memorial for the two, who were killed along with seven others in a helicopter crash last month.

Many fans are violating the cellphone use ban inside Staples Arena on Monday and are taking photos and videos.

It’s somber and people are chatting in whispers and leafing through programs from their seats as songs like Eric Clapton’s “Layla,” the Beatles’ “Yesterday” and Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic” play in the minutes before the formal ceremony starts.

The memorial will feature speakers reflecting on Bryant’s impact on basketball and the world, along with music and retrospectives on Bryant’s on-court achievements.


9:45 a.m.

Los Angeles Lakers fans are filing into Staples Center to remember Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who were killed along with seven others in a helicopter crash last month.

The arena where Bryant played features a stage surrounded by thousands of red roses below the scoreboard that’s showing images of Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter.

Fans arriving for Monday’s public memorial service are being given a program that only contains photos, a purple KB pin and a T-shirt with photos of the father and daughter.

The concourse is a sea of purple, gold and black clothing.

Dozens of fans took photos with a mural inside Staples Center of Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal after a championship win.

Janel Alexander of Encino said the mural brought back good memories of “a moment in time that was better than today.”


8:40 a.m.

While waiting for Kobe Bryant’s memorial services to begin in Los Angeles, Alyssa Shapiro says she was inspired to become a basketball player after watching countless Lakers games with her father, Rick Shapiro.

The family’s love of the game and Bryant’s work in women’s sports prompted her to become a middle school girls’ basketball coach. Her team played the team of Bryant’s daughter Gianna, who died with her father and seven others in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash.

Alyssa Shapiro said before the memorial service Monday for Bryant and his daughter that she watched Bryant cheer for Gianna from the stands.

She held homemade heart-shaped “Kobe” and “Gigi” signs ahead of the memorial service and said she “just wanted to thank him for being such an inspiration to me.”


7:30 a.m.

Fans are arriving hours early for the public memorial for Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna that will be held in downtown Los Angeles

Among them is 72-year-old Bob Melendez, who says he has been a Lakers season ticket holder for 40 years.

Melendez says that after seeing Bryant play for many years he couldn’t imagine missing Monday’s memorial at Staples Center.

His friend Tom Ling says he couldn’t believe it when heard of Bryant’s death.

Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26.

The memorial is scheduled to start at 10 a.m. Los Angeles time.


12: 30 a.m.

Thousands of mourners are expected to gather at the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles to say farewell to Kobe and Gianna Bryant.

The basketball superstar and his 13-year-old daughter will be honored in a public memorial at the arena where Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Kobe and Gianna Bryant died along with seven others on Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash.

The memorial will feature speakers reflecting on Kobe Bryant’s impact on his sport and the world, along with music and retrospectives on Bryant’s on-court achievements. Bryant became active in film, television and writing after he retired from basketball in 2016.

Bryant’s family, dozens of sports greats and many major figures in Bryant’s public life are expected to attend.

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