AP Sports Writer
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mourners began gathering Monday in downtown Los Angeles to say farewell to Kobe and Gianna Bryant at the Staples Center, hours before Bryant's memorial service was scheduled to start
The basketball superstar and his 13-year-old daughter will be honored in a public memorial at the arena where Bryant played for the Los Angeles Lakers. Kobe and Gianna Bryant died along with seven others in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26.
Early arriving fans included Bob Melendez, 72, who has been a season ticket holder for 40 years. After seeing Bryant play for the Lakers for years — including at his retirement game — Melendez said he could not imagine missing the memorial.
Melendez and friends Tom Ling, Rene Vega and Brett Noss said they wanted to p