Out of respect for the family of Kobe Bryant and the eight others killed last month in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, fans are being urged by police to stay away from Staples Center during today’s memorial unless they have a ticket.
LAPD Chief Michel Moore said Friday that unless visitors to the downtown Los Angeles venue are among the 20,000 ticketed mourners for the memorial, which begins at 10 a.m., they will not be allowed into the surrounding area, including L.A. Live.
“This entire area will be barricaded off,” Moore said. “As a matter of respect … honor the family wishes and allow this event to go as smoothly as possible.”
Moore said barriers will stretch from Pico Boulevard to Olympic Boulevard, and no one without a ticket to the memorial as well as matching identification will be allowed into the area during Monday’s event. Anyone trying to breach the police lines will face arrest, he said.
When asked whether police were concerned about disruptions to the closed event, Moore said, “That isn’t the Los Angeles I know.” The chief added that he expects Angelenos and Bryant fans to honor the family’s wishes and stay at home or work and watch the memorial on TV or the web. The event will be streamed live by various news outlets, including the Los Angeles Times.
Staples Center President Lee Zeidman, who oversees the surrounding campus for Anschutz Entertainment Group, said the businesses at L.A. Live will be closed Monday morning, as will Georgia Street and Chick Hearn Court. The massive video screens outside the L.A. Live complex will be turned off.
“There will be nothing to see here,” Zeidman said Friday from the courtyard between Staples Center and L.A. Live. He said the back and front sides of Staples Center, where Bryant played for two decades as a Laker, will be entirely barricaded.
Some businesses at L.A. Live were unsure how the closure would affect them. An employee said the Yard House restaurant was planning to open later than usual. Other restaurants may wait until Monday morning to decide how to adapt to the closures.
It was unclear whether guests at the nearby J.W. Marriott/Ritz Carlton hotel would be affected.
Only ticket holders will be allowed in the area until the afternoon, Zeidman said, adding that all the tickets — which ranged in price from $24.02 to $224 — have been distributed. More than 80,000 applied for the ticket lottery, proceeds from which will be donated to the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation.
Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, previously noted on Instagram the significance of the date of the memorial: 2-24-20: Daughter Gianna, who also was killed in the helicopter crash, wore No. 2 while playing basketball, while her husband wore No. 24. The “20″ denoting the current year is also the number of years Bryant played for the Lakers.
Zeidman said that more than 250,000 people visited L.A. Live in the days after the Jan. 26 crash that claimed the lives of Bryant, his daughter and seven others as they were flying to Bryant’s Mamba Academy for a youth basketball game. He and Moore said they expected Monday’s tribute to be both mournful and respectful.
Moore said that although police were not expecting any problems around the event, all officers will be in uniform, and the LAPD will be prepared for spontaneous events citywide.
Staples Center executives said they were “hopeful” that the event would finish by 1 p.m. and that everyone would leave promptly. The venue must be turned around to host a Clippers game against the Memphis Grizzlies at 7:30 that evening.
Spokesman Michael Roth said the arena is expecting a smooth transition.
“It’s what we do, converting the building from one event to another,” he said. “We’ll get it done.”
Times staff writers Colleen Shalby and Andrew Greif contributed to this report
The post Kobe Bryant memorial: Fans urged to avoid Staples Center unless they have a ticket appeared first on Los Angeles Times.