San Francisco's Chase Center was lit up purple and gold Monday night and its main exterior video screen displayed just a still image of the late Kobe Bryant, who died Sunday in a helicopter crash in Southern California along with eight others.
Bryant, who retired from the L.A. Lakers in 2016, was on his way to Thousand Oaks, California to coach his daughter's club basketball team. His second-oldest, Gianna a.k.a. Gigi, also died in the crash along with two of her young friends who also played on the team. Bryant said in recent years that Gianna was "hellbent" on playing for the University of Connecticut one day and ultimately in the WNBA.
Among the nine people killed in the crash, as ABC 7 and others are reporting, were the Altobelli family — daughter Alyssa played basketball with Gianna Bryant and parents John and Kerri Altobelli were riding along to the game — and mother and daughter Sarah and Payton Chester.
After 28 seasons, John Altobelli was longest-tenured baseball coach in the history of Orange Coast College, according to his brother.
As the New York Times is reporting, the helicopter had received special permission to fly in foggy weather that had grounded other, similar crafts. The fog was thick enough that most LAPD copters would not have been flying, and it appears the fog may have been a factor in the crash.
Bay Area fans, like fans across the globe, have been mourning the loss of Bryant, who was seen as a giant in basketball despite a legacy complicated by a 17-year-old sexual assault allegation.
Fan Tony Bermudez spoke to KTVU Sunday afternoon saying, "It's really devastating. I feel really sad for the family, and fans of his... it's just unbelievable."
Similarly, Davina Countee tells the station, "A lot of Bay Area people became Lakers fans because of Kobe, just because of the finesse he had when he was playing the game."
The Times also notes that Bryant's final game overshadowed the close of the Warriors' stellar, record-setting 2015-16 season.
In perhaps the ultimate Bryant flourish, that 60-point game [against the Utah Jazz] on the final day of the 2015-16 regular season — in which he hoisted 50 shots — upstaged the defending champion Golden State Warriors, who had defeated the Memphis Grizzlies on the same night to secure the best single-season record in league history(73-9).
As the Associated Press reports, thousands of Bryant's fans gathered outside the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles Sunday night to pay their respects. The arena was the home of the Lakers and also the site of the Grammy Awards last night, where Bryant was honored and mentioned multiple times, including with a last-minute opening number by Alicia Keys and Boys II Men.