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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mourners have begun gathering at Staples Center to say farewell to Kobe and Gianna Bryant.
The basketball superstar and his 13-year-old daughter will be honored Monday in a public memorial at the arena where Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Kobe and Gianna Bryant died along with seven others on Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash.
The Celebration of Life will feature music and retrospectives on Kobe Bryant’s career, along with speakers reflecting on his impact on his sport and the world.
Bryant became active in film, television and writing after his career ended in 2016.
Fans gather for Kobe Bryant’s public memorial
While waiting for Kobe Bryant’s memorial services to begin in Los Angeles, Alyssa Shapiro says she was inspired to become a basketball player after watching countless Lakers games with her father, Rick Shapiro.
The family’s love of the game and Bryant’s work in women’s sports prompted her to become a middle school girls’ basketball coach.
Her team played the team of Bryant’s daughter Gianna, who died with her father and seven others in a Jan. 26 helicopter crash.
Alyssa Shapiro said before the memorial service Monday for Bryant and his daughter that she watched Bryant cheer for Gianna from the stands.
Love of basketball put Bryant, others on final fatal flight
The six passengers traveling with Kobe Bryant and his daughter in the helicopter that crashed into a Southern California mountainside last month were joined by their love of basketball.
Among them were two teammates of Bryant’s 13-old-daughter, a coach with a rising profile in girls’ basketball and three parents of basketball-crazed children.
Their pilot was taking them to a basketball tournament.
He was a veteran flyer whose friends and customers said was exactly the guy a passenger would want at the controls.