Wed, 26 Feb 2020

Los Angeles - Hundreds of fans gathered Sunday outside the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles to pay tribute to NBA superstar

One fan placed a wreath outside the Center, which was cordoned off by police because of the Grammys ceremony taking place there Sunday evening.

He said he heard about the news while driving in Hollywood and headed to a flower shop to purchase a bouquet to honor his idol.

said Sam Krautonog, 19, another fan wearing a Lakers jersey. "My grandpa is 82 and he cried when he heard the news."

Luca Gardio, also 19, said his family was devastated upon hearing the news.

Gardio said, adding that he had been lucky enough to attend Bryant's last game.

'He made you believe'

Gennesys Cabral said Bryant's death was even more painful than losing a loved one.

he told AFP.

Some 200 people also gathered on Sunday at the foot of the hill closest to the crash site, many of them wearing Bryant jerseys.

Others turned out to pay tribute near the Lakers practice facility on the outskirts of Los Angeles.

Fans and players at the National Football League's Pro Bowl game in Orlando, Florida, observed a moment of silence to commemorate the Lakers star with the crowd afterwards chanting

In New York, the Madison Square Garden ceiling was awash in purple and gold -- the Lakers colors -- to honor Bryant ahead of the Knicks and Nets game.

The announcer listed Bryant's career accomplishments and 24 seconds of silence were observed before the crowd erupted in chants of "Kobe" that could be heard outside the venue.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti also paid tribute to the basketball legend, saying in a tweet that he "will be remembered through the ages as one of our greatest heroes.

"Kobe Bryant was a giant who inspired, amazed, and thrilled people everywhere with his incomparable skill on the court -- and awed us with his intellect and humility as a father, husband, creative genius, and ambassador for the game he loved," Garcetti added.

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