Fans mourning the death of Kobe Bryant flocked to the STAPLES Center, home of the LA Lakers, to pay tribute to the late basketball star despite police warnings against visiting the stadium.
As the Grammys were taking place at the center last night, police warned fans not to visit the stadium to prevent any disruption to the awards ceremony.
Police had cordoned off the stadium prior to the event for the arrival of hundreds of celebrities, with the ceremony beginning at 5pm local time.
Fans responded by reminding the police the STAPLES Center was in fact ‘the house that Kobe built’, with many choosing to actively ignore their warnings.
In a tweet, the Los Angles Police Department Head Quarters (LAPD HQ) tweeted:
We’re aware of published reports regarding the helicopter crash in Calabasas today & we’re still in the process of confirming with @LASDHQ who was on board. As a reminder, the area around the Staples Center is closed due to the Grammys & fans will not be able to access the arena.
Responding to the tweeted, heartbroken basketball fans argued the Grammys should be cancelled and that it wasn’t a night for celebrating.
One person tweeted:
Cancel the Grammys and start passing out candles for the 7 day long candle light vigil that needs to happen. Nobody cares about who wins which award right now.
Fans weren’t the only ones to visit the centre. LA Lakers player Quinn Cook also went down to pay his respects and looked understandably heartbroken.
Someone who also attended tweeted a photo with the caption:
I didn’t even realize this was Quinn cook until after I took the picture. Quinn has been a die hard laker fan since he was a kid too.
Tributes to the late basketball player didn’t just take place at the STAPLES Center, however. Several other places paid tribute to the 41-year-old and his daughter by shining purple and yellow lights – the LA Lakers’ colours.
One such place was New York’s Madison Square Garden, along with locations like the Pepsi Center (home of the Denver Nuggets) and the Santa Monica Pier.
Kobe’s famous number 8 and 24 jerseys were also illuminated in the STAPLES Center during the Grammys to remember the 41-year-old.
Seven other people tragically died in the helicopter crash including Bryant’s daughter Gianna, baseball coach John Altobelli, his wife Keri and daughter Alyssa, who was believed to have played basketball with Gianna.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
- Shaq O'Neal speaks out on pictures taken in aftermath of Kobe accident
- LA fire supervisors described Kobe Bryant crash pics as 'plutonium' and ordered staff to get rid of them, court hears
- Vanessa Bryant Pays Tribute To Kobe Bryant In Touching Throwback Post
- Kobe Bryant’s Inspiring Message To Daughters Shown As Final Note In Memorial Program