The letters, T-shirts, stuffed animals, and keepsakes left by legions of fans in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s death outside of LA’s Staples Center will be catalogued and sent to his widow, Vanessa.
Kobe Bryant memory is living on with the ones who loved him most. His widow, Vanessa Bryant, has made the decision to collect the items left by Kobe’s adoring fans and countless mourners outside of Kobe’s second home — the Staples Center. Many paid tribute to the LA Lakers legend and mourned the loss of Kobe and Vanessa’s 13-year-old daughter, Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, and seven other civilians killed in a deadly helicopter crash on Jan. 26. Now, the Staples Center is working in tandem with Kobe and Gianna’s surviving family members to ensure he will always be remembered. “Vanessa had reached out to us and said, ‘Our family would like the items out there.’” Lee Zeidman, president of the Staples Center, shared with the Los Angeles Times on Jan. 31. Of course, given the magnitude of grief felt by so many in LA, it will take some time for Vanessa and her three girls — Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months — to receive the items.
But the Staples Center is going to do everything they can for the family in mourning. “So we’re going to catalog every one of them,” Zeidman continued. “By that I mean, T-shirts, letters, basketballs, stuffed animals, toys. We’re going to put those in specially made containers and we’re going to ship them to the family.” Unfortunately, not all of the items will be able to be sent to the Bryant family home. Perishable items like flowers will be composted and spread around the stadium, instead. “So that means that all those fans that took the time to buy the flowers and plants and brought them down there, some of that will still be around the site,” he continued.
Since the tragic events of Jan. 26, fans, athletes, and celebrities have all joined in mourning the loss of the basketball great. The 62nd Annual Grammy Awards, held the same day as the incident, demonstrated a few tributes to the LA Lakers player. More recently, Super Bowl 54 began its entire proceedings with a moment of silence on Feb. 2 to honor the lives of Kobe, Gianna, and the seven victims of the deadly crash near Calabasas.
Beyond the aforementioned televised events, friends and colleagues the likes of Magic Johnson, Justin Timberlake, and more have paid their respects through social media posts and interviews. Vanessa made her first public statement since the tragedy on Jan. 29, posting a long, heart wrenching message to her now public Instagram page. In her message, Vanessa called Kobe her “adoring husband — the amazing father of our children,” and “my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter.”