Kobe Bryant public memorial set for Feb. 24 at Staples Center

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Fans gather at L.A. Live on Sunday to pay respects to Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the seven others who were killed in a helicopter crash Jan. 26. (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)

By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles will host a public memorial Feb. 24 at Staples Center for Kobe Bryant and eight others killed last month in a helicopter crash, two sources familiar with the event told The Times on Thursday.

The event will cap weeks of tributes across the city following the Jan. 26 crash that killed the Lakers icon, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, as well the helicopter pilot and parents, players and a coach on Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy basketball team.

People converged at L.A. Live and Staples Center — where the Laker became a basketball legend — for a week after the fatal crash to grieve. Fans from around the globe have also trekked to the crash site in Calabasas to pay their respects. On Friday before a game against the Portland Trail Blazers, the Lakers put on an emotional tribute at Staples Center led by LeBron James.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said last week that a memorial was in the works.

“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 told reporters.

“It’s a reminder how much unity we have, though. 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.”

Planning for the massive event is underway. Staples Center has previously hosted memorials for artists Michael Jackson and Nipsey Hussle. Information about timing and tickets for the ceremony was not immediately available. With limited seating, however, entry is expected to be severely restricted, sources say.

The date was selected after discussions with Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, the Lakers organization and Staples Center. One source said there will be no procession, and the event will conclude in time to allow a previously scheduled Clippers game against the Memphis Grizzlies to go forward in the evening. The memorial will fall between two Lakers home games, one against the Boston Celtics and another against the New Orleans Pelicans.

This article originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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