Devastated and grief-stricken — these words describe the devoted fans who assembled at Los Angeles, California’s Staples Center shortly after news of Kobe Bryant’s death shocked the nation and the world.
The Los Angeles Lakers icon met his sudden end with his daughter Gianna and seven more after boarding a helicopter that crashed into a Calabasas hillside on Sunday morning. He was aged 41 while his daughter was only 13 years old.
The chopper was headed to the Mamba Sports Academy from Orange County when the incident occurred. Officials of the Los Angeles County confirmed the news on the afternoon of that day.
While Bryant’s name was plastered in headlines, the Staples Center was busy holding the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards and put up security barriers for the event. Determined fans were able to pass through the barricades and put up shrines to mourn the Black Mamba.
Garbed in the signature gold and purple hue symbolizing the Los Angeles Lakers, fans emotionally bade farewell to the NBA legend. Some left flowers, basketballs, candles, and artwork on the ground to honor Bryant. A somber atmosphere blanketed the area as the athlete’s photo loomed over the gathering crowd.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the Bryant family and friends, our Laker family, our Los Angeles community and fans around the world. pic.twitter.com/vG25iDHflW
— STAPLES Center (@STAPLESCenter) January 26, 2020
NBA commissioner Adam Silver released a statement on behalf of the league saying:
“The NBA family is devastated by the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna. … We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Vanessa, and their family, the Lakers organization and the entire sports world.”
As of this writing, authorities have not released an official cause behind the helicopter crash that took his life.