Purple & Bold: Why the Kobe memorials had such power

first_imgEditor’s note: This is the Monday, Feb. 3 edition of the Purple & Bold Lakers newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.The Staples Center had the unenviable task of boxing up Kobe Bryant’s tributes at L.A. Live on Monday morning.How do you neatly package and put away grief?It’s not only a job made difficult by sensitivity, but it’s made difficult by pure volume. Lee Zeidman, the president of Staples Center, tweeted that the staff collected 1,353 basketballs. The bouquets of flowers left behind filled a full 40-yard container, which Staples Center staff sent off to be turned into mulch, which will later be spread around the plaza. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersWe’ve written several times about all we saw at the various memorials to victims of the crash, which felt like places where mourners generally attempted to pour out their feelings any way they could. There were prayer candles, jerseys and shirts, hats, shoes hanging from the murals. It was a place for physical objects to be left in an attempt to fill an unfillable void.Anywhere there was even remotely space to write, writing appeared: Messages asking Kobe and GiGi to rest in peace, to watch down on them; messages sending love and expressing confusion and hurt. People even wrote in the places you weren’t supposed to write, including sidewalks or pavement, or even in the columns of the L.A. Live parking garage.It could be the kind of thing we never see again in our lifetimes. Hopefully, Los Angeles is lucky enough to avoid the kind of tragedy that invokes such tributes.The memorials at the team’s El Segundo facility were taken down Sunday night. Physical items left behind were boxed up until further request from the Bryant family.Before that happened, I noticed on Tuesday a message that read this way: “I love and miss you so much already! You were the greatest basketball player ever and an even greater father. Kobe and Gigi will live through the entire world forever. My hero and idol, Kobe Bean Bryant!! Love your biggest fan, Quinn Cook.”It wasn’t until Friday that I was able to talk to Quinn and confirm it was him. Cook was indeed a huge Kobe fan, and he said whenever Bryant called Coach Mike Krzyzewski when Cook was at Duke, he always asked to speak to him on the phone. The two developed a relationship over the years, and Cook would go to him for advice or inspiration.Cook changed his jersey number to 28, a combination of Gianna Bryant’s number (2) and Kobe Bryant’s first number (8).Last Sunday, after the Lakers ended a nightmarish cross-country plane ride when they learned about Bryant’s death while they were in the air, Cook was feeling a lot of pain. He had seen fans had been gathering outside of L.A. Live, and he decided to go himself. His brother drove him.“He dropped me off. I was with nobody,” Cook said postgame Friday. “I just wanted to pay my respects to my favorite player ever. It was just an instinct thing. I was crying all day, and I got out there. The fans let me mourn. The fans always gave me some encouragement. That was rough, but happy I did it, because it was something I felt I needed to do.”In that way, fans and players could relate: There just needed to be a place to go.— Kyle GoonEditor’s note: Thanks for reading the Purple & Bold Lakers newsletter. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.Additional coverageAll of the Southern California News Group’s extensive Kobecoverage – For links to photos, news stories, columns, features and more, start here.An emotional night – How the Lakers attempted to get back to basketball on Friday while also honoring Kobe Bryant from the heart.The fan experience – Mirjam troved the endless messages at L.A. Live and pulled some of the most memorable details from a tough night.Just what they needed to hear – Jim Alexander wrote how LeBron’s pregame speech was pitch-perfect.Back in the W column – If Friday was for healing, Saturday against the Kings was for winning.The first steps of a long march – The Lakers are anticipating that Kobe Bryant tributes, especially in road arenas, will last all season.In their own words – Players opened up Friday night about one of the longest weeks of their lives.An old teammate – Luke Walton had stories to tell about Kobe, who was his teammate on two championship teams.No one was immune – Trevor Ariza, another former Kobe teammate, had a difficult time managing his emotions on Friday night.Always himself, to the end – Mark Heisler reflects on how singular Kobe Bryant was.center_img Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Errorlast_img read more