Less than an hour ahead of Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant's public memorial, the first photos from inside the Staples Center are being revealed. As thousands of fans began entering the venue, where Bryant spent his career with the NBA, images began to surface online, the arena darkened with purple lighting and thousands of roses surrounding center stage.
Inside Staples Center of stage for Kobe memorial pic.twitter.com/79AQTGABs6— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) February 24, 2020
Surrounding the stage are 33,643 roses, or one rose for each point that Bryant scored throughout his career in the NBA, which spanned two decades.
"I have never seen more roses in my entire life in there," Lee Zeidman, President, Staples Center, told reporters Monday morning, according to The Hill. "There are about 35 thousand roses that are surrounding the center stage. And we did a center stage to maximize the amount of people we could put in the building."
Situated just over the stage, the jumbotron shows an image of Bryant hugging Gianna and the words "A Celebration of Life."
From inside Staples Center, where roses have been laid alongside the stage. pic.twitter.com/YC8hTMcdbY— Kyle Goon (@kylegoon) February 24, 2020
At this time, it remains unclear who will be attending the service, which is set to include speakers and performers. Before tickets went on sale, it had been reported that seats would first be offered to Bryant's family, his teammates and fellow NBA players, and NBA officials.0comments
Fans began gathering outside the Staples Center as early as midnight, despite the fact that ticketholders were not allowed inside until 8 a.m. PT. Those attending were given a t-shirt featuring images of Bryant and his daughter Gianna, who was also a rising basketball star, a celebration of life program, and their ticket, featuring an image of Bryant and a younger Gianna with butterflies underneath.
Monday's memorial service is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. PT. It is expected to last three hours, with those unable to attend able to view it via CBS News. The memorial will also be live streamed on Yahoo! Sports and will air live on ESPN, the ESPN App and ESPN Radio at 1 p.m. ET.