Kobe Bryant memorial: Who may attend, what to expect

Kobe Bryant’s wife, Vanessa Laine Bryant, is half-Mexican and Kobe would often do full interviews in Spanish. USA TODAY

Four weeks after Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna were killed in a helicopter crash, the public will have an opportunity to say goodbye.

The memorial for Kobe, Gianna, 13 and affectionately known as Gigi, six friends and pilot Ara Zobayan is Monday at Staples Center at 1 p.m. ET. It is expected to last about three hours.

No official guest list has been released and there is much speculation about who may attend, along with the fans lucky enough to secure tickets during a pre-registered sale on Ticketmaster last Wednesday. There also will be spots reserved for media.

Memorials also were held for Michael Jackson, Nipsey Hussle and former Lakers owner Jerry Buss in downtown L.A. — Jackson in 2009; Buss in 2013; and Hussle last year.

There will be no processional. Kobe and Gianna were buried in a private service at Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona Del Mar on Feb. 7.

Who may speak?

Adam Silver: The NBA commissioner feels like a shoo-in for this.

Jerry West: As general manager of the Lakers in 1996, West traded for the draft rights to Kobe Bryant that summer. He also signed Shaquille O'Neal and brought Phil Jackson on board as coach. Bryant went on to lead the Lakers to five championships and West loved him like a son. However, he has a tense relationship with the organization.

Magic Johnson: The Hall of Famer led the Showtime Lakers to five titles in the 1980s. He is synonymous with the organization and opened the All-Star Game tribute to Bryant in Chicago.

Shaquille O'Neal: While they had their public feuds, they won three titles together in L.A.

Mike Krzyzewski: The former Team USA coach who led the team to gold in 2008 and 2012 when Bryant was on the team. He said after Bryant's death: "The game of basketball is better today because of Kobe, and he deserves eternal appreciation for that." Krzyzewski could make the trip to Los Angeles, with the Duke men's basketball team off Sunday and Monday.

Phil Jackson: This would be a surprise. He doesn't have a strong relationship with West. The 11-time NBA champion head coach was at the helm for all five titles with Bryant. However, they clashed over style of play and Jackson once demanded the Lakers trade Bryant. Their relationship improved during Jackson's second stint with the team.

LeBron James: The NBA's most popular player today, James spoke publicly for the first time since Bryant's death at the Lakers' first game back, on Jan. 31. Expect to hear from him again.

Jeanie Buss: The daughter of Jerry Buss, she has not spoken publicly since Bryant's death. She posted an Instagram message Jan. 30 that recalled a time shortly after her father's death when Bryant reached out to her.

Rob Pelinka: Bryant's close friend and former agent now serves as the Lakers' general manager.

Who may attend?

Vanessa Bryant and her daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri. Vanessa has not made a public appearance since the crash. She could be accompanied by her mother Sofia and her sister Sophie.

Among the family that could be seen are Bryant's parents, Joe and Pam Bryant, and his older sisters, Sharia and Shaya. Kobe and Vanessa Bryant's relationship with his family has been strained since before they wed in 2001.

Many NBA luminaries and former players also will attend, including Lakers great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Cooper. Some names to look for: Michael Jordan, Allen Iverson, Bill Russell and Pat Riley. And expect the current Lakers roster, led by coach Frank Vogel, James and Anthony Davis.

Doug Young, a former teammate at Lower Merion High School outside Philadelphia, is one of a handful of teammates expected, according to USA TODAY Sports' Mark Medina. Lower Merion coach Gregg Downer and Bryant’s former high school English teacher, Jeanne Mastriano, will join them.

Of course, there will be luminaries from - but not limited to - the NBA world.

Who might they be?

Former President Barack Obama; retired WNBA player and friend Lisa Leslie; Candace Parker, who plays for the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks; director Spike Lee; Phil Knight, co-founder and former CEO of Nike; actor Jack Nicholson, a mainstay at courtside for years; and Flea, the bassist for the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

How did fans get tickets?

Fans who wanted tickets had to register with Ticketmaster, starting Feb. 14-17. Those selected to purchase were alerted via e-mail and used a text code to buy on Feb. 19.

Ticket prices ranged from single seats for $24.02 to $242, nods to the jersey numbers of Bryant (24) and Gianna (2). All proceeds will go to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.

Staples Center will seat about 20,000, but the demand for tickets far outweighed the supply. The city has asked fans not to descend on the area around Staples Center, including L.A. Live, which will be closed to the public. Expect tightened and heightened security.

How to watch

USA TODAY Sports will carry a live stream of the memorial (1 p.m. ET, 10 a.m. PT). The celebration of life also will be broadcast live in Southern California.

Follow Heather Tucker on Twitter.

Source: https://www.usatoday.com/story/sports/nba/lakers/2020/02/23/who-is-going-to-kobe-bryant-memorial/4849264002/

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