AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The chants rose in the plaza across from Staples Center. "Kobe!" and "MVP! MVP!" They came from hundreds of fans gathered to mourn the death of Kobe Bryant.
Candles burned alongside hand-lettered messages scrawled on signs and the pavement. Bunches of flowers piled up, some with purple-and-gold balloons attached.
Men, women and children of every ethnicity milled around, drawn to the heart of downtown Los Angeles where they had once celebrated five NBA championships won by Bryant and the Lakers.
This time, they were united in shock and sadness hours after Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash northwest of the city on Sunday.
Like many Angelenos, Bryant was a transplant. Born in Philadelphia, he