Retired Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant will be commemorated in a public memorial service Saturday, Feb. 24, the Lakers announced Thursday. The service will take place at Staples Center, the team’s home arena, and Bryant’s former teammates in purple and gold will be a part of the tributes.
Coach and general manager Magic Johnson was one of the first Lakers to announce that the team will host a ceremony to commemorate Bryant’s 16-year career, expressing his love and appreciation for the forward who led the Lakers to four consecutive NBA championships and five overall during a 19-year career.
Via the Lakers:
“Bryant embodied the entire ‘Showtime’ Lakers ethos. He was a magnetic force to be reckoned with, a superstar at the very tip of his career with a ring of gold in his pocket, but a man with more heart and soul than perhaps anyone will ever witness,” Johnson said. “I’ve talked to a lot of people and none of them know anyone else more than Kobe does what he does. He’s a leader by example that he showed every single day.
“Kobe has gone on to enjoy a record-breaking career that continues to this day. But what’s most notable is the impact he’s had on those that know him best, including me. His legacy will live on and he will forever be one of the greatest Lakers of all time.”
Johnson’s sentiments were shared by Lakers owner Jeanie Buss, who also has announced plans to celebrate Bryant’s legacy with a statue outside Staples Center.
“Kobe is a total class act, a true professional, and a legacy example of greatness that we will always be proud of,” Buss said. “My thoughts and prayers are with Kobe’s family as they deal with this incredible loss.”
The Lakers will also hold a brief tribute to Bryant in their on-court ceremony during their game against the Sacramento Kings on Friday, Feb. 16.
Bryant, who recently finished up his one-month sabbatical, retired in April 2016 after winning his fifth championship. He was known for his unorthodox scoring style, known for making the game look easy as well as highlight-reel plays that were anything but.