LOS ANGELES - Tickets to the "Celebration of Life for Kobe & Gianna Bryant" were on sale at 10 a.m. Wednesday, but only a select number of fans were given the opportunity to purchase tickets.
Tens of thousands of fans pre-registered for the event in hopes of obtaining tickets. However, because the number of fans who pre-registered far exceeded the 20,000 seats that will be available inside Staples Center, most of them received an email from Ticketmaster saying that they were still on a waitlist.
A handful of lucky fans received an email from Ticketmaster with a special code that would allow them to purchase tickets as soon as they went on sale. The codes cannot be purchased and are non-transferable, according to Ticketmaster.
The Staples Center holds about 20,000 people, but more than 90,000 reportedly registered to buy tickets.
In front of the Staples Center is another tribute to the late Bryant.
“We have the Laker’s floor on top, so we wanted it to be as though his body was buried underneath the Staples Center a bit of Kobe will live with the Lakers forever,” said fan Fletcher Collins.
Collins spent three and a half days building this tribute. He and his friend Lemar Burno drove nearly non-stop from Elizabethtown, North Carolina to Los Angeles.
“I don’t sleep, I work slam through the night, trying to get it done in a timely fashion. I put it this way, I’ve got more than $13,000 in this build,” he added.
Tickets for the memorial were priced at $224 each, two for $224 and $24.02 each, depending on their location. The prices coincide with the No. 24 jersey Bryant wore and the No. 2 worn by Gianna, who went by the nickname Gigi. Proceeds for the ticket sales will benefit the Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation.
The memorial, that is being held Monday, February 24 at 10 a.m., will honor the NBA legend and his daughter, Gigi, who died the morning of Jan. 26, when the helicopter they were flying in crashed into a mountainside in Calabasas, California, while flying to a girls basketball tournament at his Mamba Sports Academy. Bryant coached Gigi’s team, which was scheduled to play that afternoon.
She and two teammates were among the nine people killed in the crash. The other victims were identified as John Altobelli, along with his wife Keri and their daughter Alyssa, Sarah and Payton Chester, youth basketball coach Christina Mauser and pilot Ara Zobayan.
According to a press release from the Los Angeles Lakers, the memorial will not be shown on any video screens or by any other means outside of Staples Center, including the L.A. LIVE video screens.
There will also not be any overflow locations for members of the public to view the event. However, it will be broadcasted live on FOX 11 Los Angeles and streamed live on FOXLA.com.
Members of the public without tickets to the Celebration of Life are strongly advised by Staples Center and law enforcement not to come downtown near Staples Center or L.A. LIVE on the day of the event as fans without tickets will not be able to access the Staples Center site, L.A. Live site, or adjacent streets, the Lakers said.
Staples Center is where Bryant starred for the Lakers for most of his two-decade career.
FOX 11's Susan Hirasuna contributed