Kobe Bryant Fans Upset Staples Center Memorial Was Removed

The Staples Center staff began dismantling the massive Kobe Bryant memorial on Monday, slowly removing all of the work that had been done in the hours following the NBA icon's death. Staples Center President Lee Zeidman revealed the work in progress via Twitter. Despite promises to send some of the tributes to Bryant's wife, Vanessa, the fans aren't overly happy about the memorial being dismantled.

CBS 2 News was outside of LA Live recently, speaking with Bryant fans about the memorial. Those that spoke to the reporter expressed their disappointment. Some had made special trips to visit the memorial but were greeted with a fence.

"It's kind of upsetting seeing all of it gone," a student named Brianna Baltazar said to CBS2 News. "But I guess they have to do what they have to do."

Other Bryant fans weighed in after the dismantling began. One was very disappointed due to the fact that he had made a trip to Los Angeles in order to visit the memorial and had arrived at 1 a.m. However, there was nothing for him to see due to the fence surrounding the memorial and the Staples Center workers.

Another fan weighed in and said that he's sad about the memorial being taken down, but he understands it. He believes this is part of the healing process.

The cleanup crew boxed up 1,353 basketballs, as well as an assortment of balloons, jerseys, and stuffed toys during the first day of cleanup efforts. Many of the items were marked with personal messages from the fans and were set aside to be transported to Vanessa Bryant.

The mass amount of flowers, on the other hand, will be remaining at Staples Center. According to Zeidman, these flowers will be composted and will spread around the plants at the complex.

The memorial will no longer be at Staples Center, but Bryant's memory will live on at the home of the Los Angeles Lakers. His numbers have already been added to the floor in the arena, and his jerseys hang in the rafters. The flowers and other pieces of the memorial just won't be on the outside of Staples Center.

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In lieu of flowers and other gifts, the arena staff has asked for fans to make donations to the Bryant Foundation or the MambaOnThree Fund. Both of these organizations are used to improve the lives of those in need. The MambaOnThree Fund, in particular, is being used to raise money for the families of the helicopter crash victims.

(Photo Credit: Sarah Reingewirtz/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty)