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The significance of Kobe Bryant’s memorial service date

Los Angeles will host a public service on Feb. 24 to remember Kobe, Gianna Bryant. Here’s why that matters

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The city of Los Angeles will host a public memorial service for Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the seven others who died in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 in Calabasas. In this photo, former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning pays tribute to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna at the NFL Honors football award show Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, in Miami. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Former NFL quarterback Peyton Manning pays tribute to Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna at the NFL Honors football award show Saturday, Feb. 1, 2020, in Miami.

David J. Phillip, Associated Press

The city of Los Angeles will host a memorial service for Kobe Bryant, his daughter Gianna and the seven other victims of a tragic helicopter crash on Feb. 24 at the Staples Center.

Why it matters

  • The date of the memorial service has significance. Feb. 24 can be rewritten as “2/24” or “2.24,” which is a reference to both Kobe and Gianna’s jersey numbers, The Los Angeles Times reports.
  • Kobe Bryant wore the No. 8 before switching to No. 24.
  • Gianna Bryant wore the No. 2.

Why did Kobe Bryant wear No. 24?

  • Bryant wore the No. 24 beginning in the 2006-2007 season after spending the early years of his career at No. 8, according to Bleacher Report.
  • Bryant said: “When I first came in at 8, is really trying to ‘plant your flag’ sort of thing,” Bryant said. “I got to prove that I belong here in this league. I’ve got to prove that I’m one of the best in this league. You’re going after them. It’s nonstop energy and aggressiveness and stuff.”
  • Bryant said: “Then 24 is a growth from that. Physical attributes aren’t there the way they used to be, but the maturity level is greater. Marriage, kids. Start having a broader perspective being one of the older guys on the team now, as opposed to being the youngest. Things evolve.”

Was Gianna’s number retired?

  • Gianna Bryant, though still a young player, wore the No. 2 for a number of her teams. As I wrote before, her mother, Vanessa Bryant, shared a photo on Instagram that revealed Gianna’s school retired Gianna’s jersey in the aftermath of her tragic death.

  • The University of Connecticut honored Gianna, too, placing a No. 2 jersey on an empty seat at an exhibition game against Team USA. Gianna Bryant was a fan of the UConn basketball team, according to Bleacher Report.

What about the NBA All-Star Game tribute to Kobe?

  • The NBA decided to change its All-Star Game format to honor Kobe Bryant and Gianna.
  • ESPN reported the game will use each quarter as a small game for charity. The final quarter won’t have any clock and a target score will be chosen.
  • ESPN said: “That’s where the tribute to Bryant and the No. 24 jersey he wore for the last decade of his NBA career comes into play. The team that wins the All-Star Game will be the first to reach a target score, determined by the total points the team in the lead scored in the first three quarters combined — plus 24, the obvious nod to Bryant.”