NewsCovering Kern County


Dignity Health Sports Complex holds vigil for Kobe and Gianna Bryant

Hundreds dawn purple and gold to pay respect to Bryant
Posted at 12:01 AM, Feb 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-01 03:01:49-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — A sea of purple and gold filled the corridors of the Dignity Health Sports Complex.

Hundreds gathered to pay their respects and mourn the loss of Kobe and Gianna Bryant, and the other seven victims, who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday.

Longtime Bryant fan, Yolanda Candia and her daughter Mariah were among the crowd to attend the vigil.

"I am so sorry that they are having to go through this, it's the most tragic thing that anyone could imagine," Candia said. "I would never wish any of this on anybody."

The vigil was serenaded by a song, prayer, reflections and a 24 second moment of silence for the fallen basketball legend.

"So may Kobe's life encourage us to live passionately and give life our very best," said Pastor Alberto Bello.

In the center of the vigil, candles and a drawing were placed with the No. 24 and No. 8. The drawings read, Mamba Forever, Gigi, and Kobe Bryant.

The artist of the vigil says he felt it was only right to symbolize one of the NBA's top-scoring players.

"I feel like Bakersfield has a lot of people who love Kobe as well," said Jeremiah Oglesby, the memorial's artist. "Even here we had a great turnout of people tonight, and I think Kobe would definitely feel the love coming from this building."

As the vigil came to an end, the game for the Lakers vs. Trail Blazers could be seen throughout the room.

Many people were seen stopping, crying and chanting Kobe as the Lakers paid tribute to Bryant, through an emotional ceremony.

Candia says she is continuing to think of all the families impacted and devastated by this tragedy.

"I just hope that God is hugging everybody and holding them tight," Candia said.