Staples Center removes public's massive Kobe Bryant memorial

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A massive memorial created by the public outside Staples Center after the death of former Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant was being dismantled Monday, with an official saying some of the items would go to Bryant's widow and other family members.

The cleanup of flowers, balloons, jerseys, stuffed toys and basketballs began at 4 a.m., Staples Center President Lee Zeidman tweeted. A fence was erected around the site to keep the cleanup out of public view.

Fans spontaneously began creating the memorial in a plaza outside the arena as word surfaced that Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other people were killed Jan. 26 in a helicopter crash in suburban Calabasas. The memorial kept growing for a week. Personal messages were written on many of the items.

“Truly amazing the outpouring of love from the City of Angels in honor of the 9 who lost their lives 1/26/20," Zeidman said. By midmorning Monday, he said, more than 1,350 basketballs had been boxed up.

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Memorial to Kobe Bryant at Staples Center taken down
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Memorial to Kobe Bryant at Staples Center taken down
A workers picks up flowers amid thousands of items left in honor of Kobe Bryant, including hundreds of basketballs, from Chick Hearn Court from Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers, early Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, in Los Angeles. Mourners left the items after the death of the former Lakers legend, his daughter and seven others, in a helicopter crash one week ago.(AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Workers remove thousands of items left in honor of Kobe Bryant, including hundreds of basketballs, from X-Box Plaza across Chick Hearn Court from Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers, early Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, in Los Angeles. Mourners left the items after the death of the former Lakers legend, his daughter and seven others, in a helicopter crash one week ago. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Workers remove thousands of items left in honor of Kobe Bryant, including hundreds of basketballs, from X-Box Plaza across Chick Hearn Court from Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers, early Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, in Los Angeles. Mourners left the items after the death of the former Lakers legend, his daughter and seven others, in a helicopter crash one week ago. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Workers remove thousands of items left in honor of Kobe Bryant, including hundreds of basketballs, from X-Box Plaza across Chick Hearn Court from Staples Center, home of the Los Angeles Lakers, early Monday, Feb. 3, 2020, in Los Angeles. Mourners left the items after the death of the former Lakers legend, his daughter and seven others, in a helicopter crash one week ago. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Memorabilia including shoes, basketballs, candles and messages for the late Kobe Bryant are placed at a memorial for Bryant in front of Staples Center in Los Angeles, Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. Bryant, the 18-time NBA All-Star who won five championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career with the Lakers, died in a helicopter crash Sunday, Jan. 26. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Memorabilia including basketballs, messages and candles for the late Kobe Bryant are placed at a memorial for Bryant in front of Staples Center in Los Angeles Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. Bryant, the 18-time NBA All-Star who won five championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career with the Lakers, died in a helicopter crash Sunday, Jan. 26. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
Fans gather at a memorial for the late Kobe Bryant in front of Staples Center in Los Angeles, Sunday, Feb. 2, 2020. Bryant, the 18-time NBA All-Star who won five championships and became one of the greatest basketball players of his generation during a 20-year career with the Lakers, died in a helicopter crash Sunday, Jan. 26. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
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Bryant's widow, Vanessa, had requested items, which were to be cataloged and shipped to the family. Flowers will be composted and spread around plants near Staples Center.

Fans were urged to donate to a Bryant foundation rather than bring more gifts and flowers.

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