If you’re a big fan of the Los Angeles Lakers, chances are you are a huge fan of Kobe Bryant, the Black Mamba of the NBA. However, his stellar career was cut short by his untimely death. For those who are big fans, you may be tempted to search for Kobe’s gravesite to pay your respects.
Jump ahead to these sections:
- Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s Death
- Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s Burial and Grave
- Other Memorials for Kobe and Gianna Bryant
However, the Bryant family hopes you won’t look for Kobe and Gianna’s gravesite. That may seem like a strange request to ask of tried and true Lakers fans, but there’s a good reason the family doesn’t want the world to know where they’re buried.
But why would anyone want to keep someone’s grave location a secret, especially someone as famous and admired as basketball legend Kobe Bryant? For that exact reason. Bryant is known all around the world. All you have to say is “Kobe,” and they know exactly who you’re talking about.
His family knew that if they allowed his gravesite location to be known, the location would become deluged with fans and curiosity seekers. With this in mind, we’ll share what we can about Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s burial, grave, and memorials. There is no reliable information out there that has indicated where their gravesites are.
Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s Death
On January 26, 2020, Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, died in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, California. They had been on their way to Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy in Newbury Park to watch a basketball game. The helicopter was en route to Camarillo Airport when the crash happened. Kobe was 41 years old and Gianna was only 13. There were also seven others with them on the helicopter when it crashed.
Once the accident was announced through the news, people around the world were in shock. The larger-than-life basketball star was gone so suddenly, and so young. He’d only recently retired from his days as an all-star player. The grief many fans and onlookers felt was further compounded by the loss of his young daughter.
Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s Burial and Grave
On February 7, 2020, the father and daughter were buried in a private ceremony. Out of respect to the Bryants, no details have been shared about the service. Months on, this is still considered a testament and loyalty to the Bryants that no information has been leaked by those in attendance.
It is rare, unfortunately, that information about an event such as a famous person’s wedding or funeral isn't leaked by someone. Considering how everything that’s known about the helicopter crash that caused the deaths of nine people has been made public, this seems a small miracle.
Where are they located?
It should be noted that it is not always easy to find a grave, even with the best maps and GPS coordinates. Kobe and Gianna (also known as Gigi) Bryant are buried in Pacific View Memorial Park. Where is a mystery to anyone but close family and the cemetery itself.
Kobe and Gianna were buried side by side in an undisclosed location in Pacific View. The grave is unmarked and likely will be for a long time, to allow family and friends to have time to grieve privately.
‘Look for the flowers’
As all celebrity news and rumors do, word got out quickly that Bryant was buried in Pacific View Memorial Park. The cemetery will not disclose his burial location upon request and out of respect for Bryant’s family. His family also didn’t want other families with loved ones interred there to deal with an influx of fans.
But fans thought they had figured it out. They still have yet to find it.
A grave with yellow and purple flowers was spotted by some fans. As the Los Angeles Lakers’ team colors are yellow and purple, it could only mean one thing: Kobe Bryant was buried there. The grave was otherwise unmarked, but it only made sense! This gravesite was not where Kobe and Gianna were buried, though.
Once a few people decided they’d solved the mystery, word spread quickly. More and more people came every day to leave flowers and other memorial items at what they believed was a famous grave. It was distressing to the family whose grave plot it really was and frustrating the cemetery employees who work hard to make the grounds a peaceful place. Unfortunately, there were too many people not following proper cemetery etiquette.
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Other Memorials for Kobe and Gianna Bryant
While the burial site itself is not disclosed, that has not stopped fans and other admirers of Kobe in showing their love for the sports legend. There are murals, tributes, and in the weeks after the death, lots of makeshift memorials replete with candles and flowers.
The impromptu memorial
News of Bryant’s death was released early on that Sunday. By that evening, countless fans had gathered outside the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles. The Staples Center is the official home of the Los Angeles Lakers, the team in which Kobe spent his entire pro basketball career. He had only retired from the sport in 2016.
Tens of thousands of flowers plus balloons, personal notes, and tokens of fans’ love and grief for Kobe as well as Gianna covered the area around the Staples Center. At night, it was lit up by candles as mourners continued to pay their respects.
The memorial service at Staples Center
On February 23, 2020, the Staples Center in L.A. was also the location for the public memorial service in honor of Kobe and Gianna. Again it was the perfect place for this special ceremony – his long-time home away from home. The Staples Center was also fitting because of its size, as approximately 20,000 people were able to attend the memorial service.
The service was a paid event and fundraiser. Money raised from ticket sales went to Bryant’s Mamba and Mambacity Sports Foundation. According to the Associated Press, the foundation “supports youth sports programs in underserved communities and teaches sports to girls and women.”
Speaking from the heart
If it hadn’t been a memorial service, the list of speakers and performers would have made for a huge event.
Jimmy Kimmel welcomed the attendees. Bryant’s agent Rob Pelinka, Michael Jordan, basketball stars Diana Taurasi and Sabria Ionescu, and University of Connecticut women’s coach Geno Auriemma all spoke about their friend and person they admired.
Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s wife and Gianna’s mother, shared about Kobe, the husband and father. The Associated Press reported that she said, “God knew they couldn’t be on this Earth without each other. He had to bring them both home to have them together. Babe, you take care of our Gigi. And I got Nati, Bibi, and Coco. We’re still the best team.”
Beyonce, Alicia Keys, and Christina Aguilera all performed musical numbers. To wrap up the emotional service, everyone viewed Bryant’s Academy Award-winning short film “Dear Basketball.”
Lakers legends and fellow basketball greats were there to say goodbye to their friend. They included Kareen Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, Pau Gasol, Shaquille O’Neal, Dwyane Wade, Phil Jackson, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, and dozens of current NBA players.
Celebrity friends Jennifer Lopez, Alex Rodriguez, Kim Kardashian, and Kanye West were also there to pay their respects.
Those who spoke made it known that Bryant was much more than a basketball star. “Kobe lived to make other people’s lives better,” said Pelinka, according to the Associated Press.
For those who were not able to attend the memorial in person, it was broadcast so people could watch a livestream of it from anywhere.
Weeks of tributes
While the Staples Center memorial service was the largest, tributes to Bryant had started taking place since the day he died. A memorial was laid out in El Segundo, California outside of the Lakers’ practice facility.
Makeshift memorials also popped up in many locations around the city. For example, artist PeQue Brown began painting a mural on the wall of the old fire station in Watts, California. The mural takes up the entire side of the building, which is 80 feet wide and two stories tall. Brown did most of the artwork himself but also had the help of many community volunteers.
Another artist named Art Gozukuchikyan painted a mural of both Bryant and Gianna in Studio City on the side of VEM Exotic Rentals.
An existing mural of Bryant, located on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles attracted fans who left notes taped to the wall or by attaching Post-its. This is just one of the murals already in place. Each became impromptu memorials after the fatal helicopter accident.
As LA is a city of murals, it was no surprise that businesses made requests to have their own memorial murals honoring Bryant.
Kobe Bryant is Larger Than Life Even Now
While Kobe and Gianna Bryant’s funeral and burial were not necessarily fashioned like traditional ones we are used to, it is only fitting for a global superstar like Bryant. When 20,000 seats still aren’t enough for someone’s mourners, you know he’s made an indelible impression on the world.
- “How Los Angeles is remembering Kobe Bryant.” Los Angeles Times, 23 February 2020, www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-02-23/kobe-bryant-memorial
- “Public memorial service remembers the private Kobe Bryant.” Associated Press, 24 February 2020, apnews.com/article/93e2635799ce7f07c9bc63e6f3f8c144
- “Corona del Mar cemetery denies reported location of Kobe and Gianna Bryant grave.” Daily Pilot, 20 February 2020, www.latimes.com/socal/daily-pilot/news/story/2020-02-20/corona-del-mar-cemetery-denies-reported-location-of-kobe-and-gianna-bryant-grave
- “Kobe Bryant’s memory runs through the heart of L.A., and on its walls.” Los Angeles Times, 29 January 2020, www.latimes.com/california/story/2020-01-29/los-angeles-murals
- “How Fans Are Honoring Kobe Bryant Around the World.” People.com, 27 January 2020, people.com/sports/kobe-bryant-memorials-around-the-world/?slide=7609121#7609121