Moments after news broke that NBC legend Kobe Bryant had died in a helicopter crash, people in Los Angeles began leaving flowers and candles at the famed Staples Center. Each passing minute the memorial continued to grow. A week later, all of Staples Center — which is the arena where the Los Angeles Lakers play — was filled with items that mourners left behind as a tribute to the late icon and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, who also perished in the crash along with seven other people. Staples Center officials said they would dismantle the memorial this past Sunday. However, Bryant’s widow, Vanessa Bryant, requested to keep those items.
Staples Center officials say Vanessa has asked them not to throw any of the items in the memorial away. She and her family would like to keep them instead.
Lee Zeidman, the president of Staples Center, said ideally they wouldn’t want to discard the items, but they have to because other events will be taking place at the arena.
Per her request, Vanessa Bryant and her family will be given some of the items left by fans at Kobe's memorial outside of Staples Center 🙏 pic.twitter.com/5wvK4mjHGy
— SLAM (@SLAMonline) February 1, 2020
“It will have been a week. We have contractually obligated events that are moving in,” Zeidman told the Los Angeles Times. “Vanessa had reached out to us and said, ‘Our family would like the items out there.’ So we’re going to catalog every one of them. By that I mean, T-shirts, letters, basketballs, stuffed animals, toys. We’re going to put those in specially made containers, and we’re going to ship them to the family.”
Staples Center officials will have a lot of sorting to do. All week long, in the wake of Bryant’s death, people have flocked to the Staples Center, not only to pay their respects but also left messages for Bryant’s family, along with keepsakes such as shoes and basketballs.
KOBE & GIANNA MEMORIAL STAPLES CENTER LOS ANGELES pic.twitter.com/ShGPLyybKP
— lil amor (@b0otsie) January 27, 2020
Zeidman also said they will scatter the flowers from the memorial around the arena and throughout L.A., which is an idea that had from the memorial left in the wake of England’s Manchester Arena bombing in 2017. For fans who have yet to leave their own personal mark in the memorial, it’s not too late. Zeidman said people still have time to drop something off at the memorial.
“Our goal is to somehow have it cleaned up as we relate to the middle of next week and we’re asking people — we’re going to put signage all around L.A. Live and Staples Center — if you still feel the need to do something, you can certainly come down here. But we hope that you wouldn’t bring any gift and flowers, but that you donate to the Mamba Foundations that they’ve already set up. Then we try to get back to whatever normalcy is around the campus.”