Kobe Bryant memorial 'to be held on February 24th'


A public Kobe Bryant memorial looks set to be held in Los Angeles later this month.

The former pro basketball player, his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, and seven other people were killed in a helicopter crash last month, and a tribute to them is expected to take place at Los Angeles' Staples Center, where Kobe played his home games for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Two sources have told the Los Angeles Times newspaper that the public memorial will take place on February 24th.

It's not known why that date has been chosen, but some have speculated it could have been picked because Kobe wore the number 24 shirt during the latter stage of his career, and Gianna wore number two for her youth basketball teams.

And it is thought the memorial could take place during the day because the Staples Center will host the Los Angeles Clippers' game with Memphis Grizzlies during the evening of February 24th.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recently admitted the city would do "absolutely everything" to put on a public memorial.

He said: "I think one message that I would say is this is not just about a man who was a basketball player, this is about a father, this is about a leader, this is about a filmmaker, this is about an artist, this is about somebody who was so much more than just how he was on the court.

"It's a reminder how much unity we have, though. We are one city that believes in each other, believes in something bigger than ourselves, and we will absolutely do everything to make sure that this is done so that everybody can come to it as well."

Like Kobe, Gianna was also a keen basketball player, and the late Lakers legend's pal Jay-Z revealed this week that Kobe had suggested he go and see his daughter play ball just days before he died.

Jay said: "So Kobe was a guy that looked up to me, and we've hung out multiple times.

"He was last at my house on new year's, and he was just in the greatest space that I've seen him in.

"One of the last things he said to me was, you've gotta see Gianna play basketball.

"And that was one of the most hurtful things, because he was so proud. And the look on his face was like - I looked at him and said, 'Oh, she's going to be the best female basketball player in the world.'

"He was just so proud. So that's really a tough one."