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Live blog: Kobe Bryant and Gianna honored in emotional memorial service

Thousands gathered Monday to pay tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna.

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Basketball icon Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna were remembered at an emotional public tribute Monday, as thousands of mourners gathered at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, an organization that "exists to further Kobe and Gianna Bryant's legacy through charitable endeavors in sports," according to its website.

Read the latest updates:

Live Blog

Where are you sitting for the Kobe's memorial? It depends how much you paid.

Like any other event Staples Center, where you're sitting for Monday's Kobe Bryant memorial depends on how much you spent on your ticket. 

The Lakers partnered with Ticketmaster to sell a select number of tickets to the general public who had registered online. The tickets were priced at three tiers: $224 each, $224 for two or $24.02 each, the Lakers said.

One Twitter user reported being offered a $24.02 ticket in Section 302, row 13 of the arena, just two rows from the very top of the building. 

Another netizen reported buying two $224 tickets, so $448 total, landing downstairs in the comfort of section PR7. Tickets sales will benefit the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, a nonprofit honoring Kobe and Gianna's legacy "through charitable endeavors in sports."

 

 

Commemorative tickets handed out at Staples Center

Long lines form as fans and mourners head into Staples Center

LOS ANGELES — Long lines have formed outside the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles as fans roll into the memorial. The scene is calm and orderly, with no indications of large disruptions from un-ticketed fans. The memorial slated as a "Celebration of Life" is expected to start soon. 

The history of tears (of joy and sorrow) at Staples Center

Even before Kobe Bryant's admirers and well-wishers filled the Staples Center on Monday, the home of basketball's Lakers and Clippers and hockey's Kings has seen its share of memorable wins and sad memorials. 

The Kings hoisted the Stanley Cup there in 2012 and 2014, while the Lakers clinched two of Bryant's five NBA titles (2012, 2014) inside the arena just south of downtown L.A.  But the building has also been the scene of sad and grand sendoffs.

Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson at Michael Jackson's memorial service at the Staples Center in Los Angeles on July 7, 2009.Mark J. Terrill / AP Pool

Fans of slain rapper Nipsey Hussle packed Staples Center 10 months ago to celebrate the beloved performer

Michael Jackson's star-studded memorial was also held there July 7, 2009. Bryant and Magic Johnson were among the mourners inside Staples Center that day.

Orange County plans to pay tribute, too

Orange County, home to all nine victims of the crash, will be a key part of the day.

The city of Santa Ana is expected to open City Hall to mourners who want to watch a live broadcast of the memorial. Orange County Great Park soccer stadium plans to offer the same service.

Bryant's legacy on display at Celtics vs. Lakers game

The legacy of Kobe Bryant was on display during Sunday's game between the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center.

The two teams have what is arguably the biggest — and at times most heated — rivalry in the NBA. But the respect between the organizations was evident, with many Celtics players wearing purple wristbands to honor Bryant.

And in a sight that few NBA fans would have ever imagined, Celtics legend Bill Russell showed up to the game decked out in purple and gold, including a Bryant jersey.

The Lakers edged out the Celtics 114-112

Immediately after Monday's memorial, the Staples Center will be prepared for a game between the Memphis Grizzlies and the Los Angeles Clippers, with tip-off set for 10:30 p.m. ET.

Memorial service expected to honor all the victims

Monday’s memorial service is expected to also honor the seven other people who died in the January helicopter crash. Here are snapshots of their stories:

John, Keri and Alyssa Altobelli

John Altobelli served as the head coach of the Orange Coast College Athletics baseball program, in Costa Mesa, for 27 years. During his tenure, he racked up four state championships and last year, he was named National Coach of the Year by the American Baseball Coaches Association.

His 13-year-old daughter, Alyssa, who was best friends with Gianna Bryant, dreamed of becoming a star basketball player. Tony Altobelli, John’s brother, told NBC News that Keri Altobelli was a great mom to Alyssa and the couple’s two other children, Lexi and J.J.

Sarah and Payton Chester

Payton Chester, a 13-year-old basketball player, and her mother, Sarah, were also passengers on the helicopter.

Payton aspired to play basketball in high school and college, according to her uncle Andy George. In an interview with the Orange County Register, he described his sister, Sarah Chester, as “the one everyone counted on.”

Christina Mauser

Christina Mauser, 38, was an assistant basketball coach at the Mamba Sports Academy who had been personally selected for the job by Kobe Bryant, according to her husband, Matt. 

"He picked her because she was amazing," Matt Mauser said during an interview with the “TODAY” show. "I was so proud of her and she was so happy.” Christina Mauser leaves behind the couple's three children.

Ara Zobayan

Ara Zobayan was a certified commercial pilot, flight instructor and ground instructor.

“He was always making sure that every box was checked and, and we never — we never — flew in something that wasn't comfortable," Jacob Chambers, Zobayan’s student, told NBC Los Angeles. "He was one of the best pilots I've flown with.” 

Who will be attending the Kobe Bryant memorial service?

Few details about the memorial service have emerged, but it won’t just be close friends and family of the basketball star in attendance.

A number of Kobe Bryant’s fans will also be there, according to the event’s organizers, who had announced that fans could register for the Staples Center "Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant" from Feb. 14 to 17. 

Tickets for the service ran between $24.02 to $224 in a tribute to uniform numbers worn by the all-time basketball great and his daughter. According to multiple reports, the number of fans who registered for the event exceeded the 20,000 seats available at the Staples Center and thousands of people were placed on a waitlist to purchase tickets.

Approved registrants received unique access codes via email Feb. 18 that they could use to purchase tickets starting the next day. 

The Los Angeles Lakers said that proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, formerly known as the Mamba Sports Foundation. 

Fans line up to get into the Staples Center to attend a public memorial for former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, in Los Angeles on Feb. 24, 2020.Ringo H.W. Chiu / AP

Kobe Bryant and Gianna were buried in a private ceremony

While Monday marks the public memorial service, Kobe Bryant and Gianna were buried in a private ceremony in Corona Del Mar, California, on Feb. 7. 

However, the Pacific View Memorial Park has not confirmed the exact location of their graves, leading hundreds of fans to leave flowers and other tributes at an incorrect location.

Gianna shared her father’s love of basketball and was a burgeoning athlete herself. Kobe Bryant credited his relationship with Gianna for reigniting his love of the sport after his retirement. His close relationships with Gianna and his three other daughters, Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, who was born in June, earned him the nickname “girl dad.”