Barely a day after the memorial to honor Lakers star Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, items given to attendees of the service were popping up on eBay, being hawked for thousands of dollars, according to the New York Post.
The ceremony was highlighted by performances from Beyonce, who sang, “XO,” which, she said, “was one of his favorite songs.” Alicia Keys played, “Moonlight Sonata,” and Christina Aguilera sang, “Ave Maria.” Speeches from Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, from former teammate Shaquille O’Neal and from Michael Jordan, Bryant’s idol, left a lasting impression.
But for some, the emotional impact of those moments quickly gave way to a desire for some quick cash through online commerce.
Among the gifts for those who were at the funeral was a T-shirt depicting Bryant with his daughter, both of whom died with seven other passengers in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif., on January 26. Mourners also received a program, a pin with the initials KB and a commemorative Staples Center ticket, marked Section 8, Row 24, Seat 2.
Bryant wore No. 8 and 24 during his career with the Lakers. Gianna Bryant, whose budding basketball career was being encouraged by her father, wore No. 2.
There were, according to the L.A. Times, only 20,00 copies of the service’s program printed.
Kobe Bryant Memorial Drew Ticket Scammers
There were around 20,000 people in attendance on Monday, and even then, some were attempting to make a buck off the Bryant ceremony.
Fans had to register for tickets, which were sold at three price points: $224, two for $224 and $24.02. Those who registered were informed on Tuesday, February 18, whether they’d been selected to buy tickets, and were given a code. On social media, some attempted to sell their codes after being informed that they’d been selected.
While it is unclear how many fans requested tickets, those who applied received an email reading: “With thousands upon thousands of passionate fans from around the world who’d like to pay their respects, demand for tickets far exceeds the availability for A Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant Public Ticket Release.”
There were reports, too, of scammers selling fake tickets around Staples Center on Monday.
While there were initially exorbitant prices on eBay for materials from the memorial, some appear to be selling the items now for much less. One package has the ticket, pin, program and shirt for $899.
‘Hard for the City to Move On’
The memorial was a step toward healing for the city of Los Angeles, where Bryant starred for 20 seasons, making 18 All-Star teams and leading the Lakers to five championships. The event drew thousands from all over the country beyond those who were in attendance.
Lakers star Magic Johnson noted that, even with the emotional speeches in the program, it would be difficult to truly honor Bryant’s career and his role as an ambassador for the game during and after his playing days.
“It’s going to be hard for the city to move on,” Johnson said. “It’s hard in a two-minute, five-minute time to say everything that he meant to the world, to the NBA, to basketball fans, because he’s just bigger than life. It’ll take a long year to get over his passing and [his] daughter and the seven other people who lost their lives as well.”