Though fans might want to say their goodbyes to Los Angeles Lakers player Kobe Bryant in his home turf of the Staples Center, officials are reportedly looking at a different venue for the legend’s funeral. The 18-time NBA All-Star died in a tragic helicopter crash which also claimed the lives of eight other people, including his daughter, Gianna.
According to TMZ, city officials have been eyeing the Coliseum — which is home to both the USC Trojans and the Los Angeles Rams — as the likely location for a memorial. Though many call the Staples Center the “house that Kobe built,” it only has a capacity of 20,000 people, whereas the Coliseum can hold 80,000.
That said, arrangements have not yet been set, and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said that the city has not been behind planning the basketball legend’s funeral. However, Garcetti emphasized that officials were focused on offering support to those planning it in his family, according to a report by ABC 7.
Garcetti also highlighted that he was dedicated to a permanent memorial for the basketball great and was hoping to “listen” to what would be the best way to honor the star athlete. Already, city flags have been lowered to half staff and landmarks in Los Angeles were lit up in the Lakers’ colors of purple and gold.
“A lot of greats have an amazing career as players and then go off into the sunset. But you know, they’ll come around for occasions,” Garcetti said.
“But he was writing a new chapter, and not just for himself but for his city, for his daughters. And as a father this one just hurts. I think for everybody in the city, it just hurts,” he added.
Garcetti said that many saw Kobe as a symbol of Los Angeles, and he shaped “not only how we saw ourselves, but how the world saw us.”
The basketball legend started with Lakers fresh out of high school and continued to play with the L.A. team for his entire 20-season career. Garcetti claimed that Bryant made his mark on both the court and the city.
“I just hope that people realize that as great as he was inside Staples Center, we want to feel him outside Staples Center, too, and that’s what we’re going to do,” he said.
Garcetti added that thousands of suggestions for ways to honor the player have come flooding in, such as ideas for tributes and boulevards. However, the mayor said that he believed the city would eventually erect a monument for the All-Star.
In addition his athletic career, Bryant campaigned to help bring the spotlight to women’s basketball as a proud “girl dad.” He was also heavily involved in philanthropy projects such as helping veterans transition to civilian careers and assisting the homeless.
The mayor added that he hoped to support Kobe’s family in every way possible. The star athlete leaves behind his wife of 19 years, Vanessa, as well as three other daughters. As reported by The Inquisitr, Vanessa is reportedly “hardly [keeping] it together” after the sudden loss of both her husband and daughter.