On the plaza outside of the “House that Kobe built”, his face smiles down from a dozen electronic billboards.
The image of a sporting and cultural icon, a moment frozen in time, a memorial to a life cut short at 41.
Throughout the day, thousands came to pay their respects outside of the sporting arena that Kobe Bryant bestrode for two decades.
Image: Fans gather outside the Staples Center to mourn Bryant’s death
They wore anything they could find in Lakers colours. They chanted the name and shirt numbers of a man they had come to idolise.
Bryant’s loss, and that of his 13-year-old daughter Gianna in a helicopter crash on Sunday, has stunned his home city into a state of disbelief.
“You look around and see the diversity in this crowd,” Chris James said. “Only someone like Kobe could bring this city together like this. He did it in life and he’s doing it now.”
Somewhat incongruously, late into the night, revellers from the Grammys arrived to join the crowd, dressed in their Sunday best, to look at the flowers and candles and stand in sombre solidarity.
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On the Grammy stage, in a venue that had been his sporting theatre, there had been a sense that the music industry was standing on hallowed ground, and tributes to Bryant coursed through the show.
“He IS LA,” Vanessa Rodriguez told us. “He gave this city so much. It is so sad that he is gone.”
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There was mourning too, for the others who were aboard, among them a young family, like Bryant’s, steeped in youth sport. They had all been travelling to matches at his own sporting academy.
Many fans had headed to a remote hillside northwest of Los Angeles to attempt to pay their respects at the crash site itself.
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Police have warned them to stay away from what remains a dangerous and difficult to reach spot. The scene will be the focus of intensive work for investigators in the days to come.
For many fans the need to be somewhere, anywhere, connected to Kobe Bryant was overwhelming. To share their memories and just be with each other.
Those that had witnessed an exceptional sporting career were anticipating what former president Barack Obama called the “second act” of Bryant’s life.
They – like so many – have been robbed of so much.
Source : Sky News