On February 14th, hearts were filled as a logo of Kobe Bryant’s Mamba Sports Academy touched the sky, afloat on the Great Park Balloon. 

Working with the city to honor the late NBA star and those lost in the tragic events of January 26th, 2020, developer FivePoint Holdings has wrapped Orange County Great Park’s iconic attraction with the academy logo, where it will float above the city for several days. At night, the balloon will be illuminated to allow the memories of those lost to shine through. 

The memorial logo includes the original design, along with the touching addition of the uniform numbers of Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and teammates Alyssa Altobelli and Payton Chester. Mamba team coach Christina Mauser’s initials are also included. All five were among the nine who lost their lives in a catastrophic helicopter crash in Calabasas last month. The cause of the accident is still under investigation. 

The balloon, which remains rideable during normal hours of operation, joins the many tributes to the beloved NBA legend and Los Angeles Lakers star. 

Residents looking to participate in memorial activities are invited to the Kobe Bryant Memorial Broadcast at the Championship Soccer Stadium in Orange County Great Park on Monday, February 24, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

Free to the public, this event will honor the nine Orange County residents whose devastating loss has reverberated throughout the community – NBA legend and Mamba Sports Foundation co-founder Kobe Bryant and daughter Gianna; Alyssa, John and Keri Altobelli; Payton and Sarah Chester; Christina Mauser; and Ara Zobayan.

Mamba & Mambacita Sports Foundation, FivePoint and the city of Irvine are co-hosting the live broadcast of the public memorial at Staples Center, which will be available to view and hear in full on the Championship Soccer Stadium’s big screen. Attendees may bring a blanket for seating on the stadium field or can opt to watch from the stadium. 

More information about the balloon memorial and planned activities can be found at ocgp.org.

(Irvine Weekly)