Mayor Eric Garcetti ordered city flags across Los Angeles to be flown at half-staff Monday, one day after Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter and seven other people were killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas.
“All @LACity flags will be lowered to half-staff in honor of Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant, and all of the victims in Sunday’s tragic helicopter crash,” the mayor tweeted at 7:25 a.m.
“We lost an angel in the City of Angels,” Garcetti told KNX 1070 Monday morning, referring to Kobe. He added that some sort of citywide celebration of Bryant’s life was likely in the near future, but said it was too early to know any details.
Bryant was on his way to a basketball game with daughter Gianna when the helicopter crashed. Other victims included Orange Coast College baseball coach John Altobelli, Altobelli’s wife Keri Altobelli and daughter Alyssa, a 13-year-old basketball player for Bryant’s sports training Mamba Academy, and Christina Mauser, an assistant basketball coach at Harbor Day School in Corona del Mar.
As the news spread at midday Sunday, thousands of Lakers fans began gathering outside Staples Center. One fan told KTLA, “I didn’t know what else to do, so I came here.”
On Sunday night, landmarks across the city were lit up remember Bryant, including City Hall, the LAX pylons, the Ferris Wheel at Santa Monica Pier, and downtown’s Wilshire Grand skyscraper — which flashed the number 24 on its top floors.
As Sunday turned into Monday, makeshift memorials were being arranged outside Staples, and also at Bryant’s home in Newport Beach.
Some fans have tried to access the crash site in Calabasas to pay respects, but Los Angeles County Sheriff’s officials warned non-residents to stay away, and the National Transportation Safety Board has secured the area can conduct its investigation.
Memorials were also erected at the downtown mural of Bryant in the 1300 block of Lebanon Street, where hundreds of people left tributes on Post-It notes, and at another mural celebrating Bryant on Melrose Avenue.
A fan named Michael told KABC7: “They don’t make them like that anymore. Everybody wants to take the easy route, but Kobe he was willing to never be satisfied at where he was. He always wanted to push to a higher level. You don’t see that no more. I just appreciate everything you did Kobe, for real.”
The Lakers also created a space for fans outside their training facility but inside the security gates at 2275 E. Mariposa Ave. in El Segundo. Fans were signing a large white canvas.
A shrine was also set up at the Mamba Sports Academy in Ventura County.
Moreno Valley officials said the Riverside County city’s “M” symbol on Box Springs Mountain would be illuminated in purple and gold Monday night.
The Lakers canceled Monday’s practice, and L.A. radio stations observed a moment of silence at noon to honor Bryant.
Later Monday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced that Tuesday’s scheduled game between the Lakers and Clippers at Staples Center was postponed.
“The decision was made out of respect for the Lakers organization, which is deeply grieving the tragic loss of Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people in a helicopter crash on Sunday,” according to a statement released by the league Monday afternoon. “The game will be rescheduled at a later date.”
The Lakers are next scheduled to play Friday night at Staples Center against the Portland Trail Blazers. There was no immediate word on whether that game will go ahead as scheduled.