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24 February announced as date for Kobe Bryant, Gianna’s Memorial Service at Staple Center

Valentine Chinyem

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Vanessa Bryant, wife to deceased basketball legend, Kobe Bryant, has announced February 24 as date for the memorial service of her late husband, daughter and seven other people who died with them in the tragic January 26 helicopter crash.

The service will be held in Staples Center, home to the Los Angeles Lakers where Kobe played most of his twenty season.

According to the announcement which she made on Friday via her Instagram handle, the memorial service, which she tagged, ”A Celebration of Life” will begin by 10a.m.

The choice of this date is significant, we were made to understand, as it reflects both Bryant and Gianna’s jersey numbers.

Bryant wore No. 24 on his jersey during his stint with Lakers, while his daughter Gianna, who plied her trade with his Mamba Sports Academy and aspired to the WNBA, used No. 2.

The Staples Center also referred to as the ‘house that Kobe built’, boasts of its capacity to host 20,000 people, compared to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, another venue that was being considered to hold the memorial.

Fans and mourners alike have continued to pay their homage to the basket legend by thronging the center with flowers, basketballs, candles, pictures etc placed outside the arena. However, some of them were given to Kobe’s widow, Vanessa upon her request, as the center needed to dismantle the makeshift memorial.

The ill-fated crash took away pilot, Ara Zobayan; John Altobelli, the head baseball coach at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, California; his wife, Keri; and their daughter Alyssa, Christina Mauser, a coach, and Sarah Chester and her 13-year-old daughter, Payton Chester. Payton was also a player at Mamba Sports Academy, where the helicopter was headed to when it crashed at the foggy hills of Calabasas, California.

Meanwhile the Angels Stadium in Anaheim, has also announced it will hold a celebration of life for the Altobelli family on February 10.

More so, during the week, Gianna’s school Harbor Day School in Newport Beach during a ceremony on Wednesday night, retired Gianna’s basketball jersey in her honor.

Recall that the Los Angeles Lakers, following the death of Kobe Bryant, also retired his number 24 and 8 jersey’s, in an emotional ceremony which was attended by fans, friends and colleagues, in his honor.

Memorial services for celebrities like Michael Jackson and rapper Nipsey Hussle, were held at the Staples Center, making it a perfect choice for Kobe’s memorial.

Mourners are expected to converge from within and outside Carlifornia to pay their final respect to Kobe Bryant, who gave them a taste of the beautiful game of basket in his own way.

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