Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant filled the city’s Staples Center to the rafters one last time on Monday, as tens of thousands packed his team’s home arena for a memorial service to the icon and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna.
The father and daughter were killed last month in a helicopter crash alongside eight others.
Mourners, many decked out in Bryant jerseys, packed the arena for what the hoopster’s widow, Vanessa, has dubbed a “Celebration of Life.”
Fellow stars of the game’s past — including former Lakers Shaquille O’Neal and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar — and present, including Stephen Curry, James Harden and Russell Westbrook, were expected to be among the more than 20,000 attendees.
But much of the crowd consisted of everyday fans who had watched Bryant for 20 seasons in the purple-and-gold, and who won a lottery for a ticket to say goodbye Monday.
Bryant, 41, Gianna, and seven others were killed when their helicopter slammed into the foggy hills of Calabasas, California on Jan. 26.
An official investigation into the cause is ongoing.