Here’s Why Vanessa Bryant Wants Everything Fans Have Left Behind At Staples Center Makeshift Memorial

It is hard to believe that it has just been a little over a week since the tragic accident that took Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven other lives.

Vanessa and Kobe Bryant
Vanessa and Kobe Bryant | Donato Sardella/Getty Images for EIF

The city of Los Angeles has begun the process of removing all of the flowers, gifts, notes, and other items that the late basketball legend’s fans left to show their immense grief and pay their respects.

Bryant’s widow, Vanessa, is requesting that the city give her these items, and here’s why.

The makeshift memorials outside of the Staples Center in L.A.

Since Bryant’s passing on Jan. 26, his fans have been leaving flowers, basketballs, cards, and candles outside of Staples Center, also known as “The House That Kobe Bryant Built.” Knowing this was his home away from home and that there really was no other location to express their sadness, the sports venue became the place where it felt most appropriate for fans to leave their condolences.

Fans Continue To Pay Respects To Kobe Bryant At Memorial Outside Of Staples Center
Fans Continue To Pay Respects To Kobe Bryant At Memorial Outside Of Staples Center | David McNew/Getty Images

At the 41-year-old’s death, the mayor of Los Angeles, Eric Garcetti, issued a statement saying in part, “He will live forever in the heart of Los Angeles, and will be remembered through the ages as one of our greatest heroes.”

“This is a moment that leaves us struggling to find words that express the magnitude of shock and sorrow we are all feeling right now, and I am keeping Kobe’s entire family in my prayers at this time of unimaginable grief.” 

Vanessa Bryant has shown her appreciation for the outpouring of love and grief

Kobe’s widow, Vanessa, has been appreciative of the love and support the fans and the world at large have shown towards her and her family after their horrible loss.

She posted on Instagram shortly after her husband and daughter’s passing to express her gratitude to fans.

“My girls and I want to thank the millions of people who’ve shown support and love during this horrific time. Thank you for all the prayers. We definitely need them.”

“We are completely devastated by the sudden loss of my adoring husband, Kobe — the amazing father of our children; and my beautiful, sweet Gianna — a loving, thoughtful, and wonderful daughter, and amazing sister to Natalia, Bianka, and Capri.”

“We are also devastated for the families who lost their loved ones on Sunday, and we share in their grief intimately.”

“There aren’t enough words to describe our pain right now. . . we wake up each day, trying to keep pushing because Kobe, and our baby girl, Gigi, are shining on us to light the way.”

Why Vanessa would like the fans’ gifts

After the Super Bowl this past Sunday, the Staples Center began dismantling everything that had been left outside by fans for Kobe Bryant. The Staples Center’s president, Lee Zeidman, told the Los Angeles Times on Jan. 31 that the venue had to clean up as events would be taking place there.

“It will have been a week [on Super Bowl Sunday]. We have contractually obligated events that are moving in,” he said.

Just a portion of the gifts left by fans in memory of Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.

Zeidman revealed that the 37-year-old widow had contacted the Staples Center and requested the fans’ items, showing on her part a great foresight and strength during a trying time. Her gesture also shows a true appreciation and love for the fans and the efforts they made to bring their condolences there.

“Vanessa had reached out to us and said, ‘Our family would like the items out there.’ So we’re going to catalog every one of them,” Zeidman continued. “By that I mean, T-shirts, letters, basketballs, stuffed animals, toys. We’re going to put those in specially made containers and we’re going to ship them to the family.”

In addition, the venue president said the Staples Center would be composting all of the flowers and perishable items left for Bryant and spreading them around the area.

This will allow the fans’ gesture of sympathy and love to remain part of the city infinitely, as it should.

Read more: Jennifer Lopez’s Emotional Post to Kobe Bryant’s Wife, Vanessa