OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – APRIL 11: A basketball fan expresses his support for Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first quarter of a NBA game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Chesapeake Energy Arena on April 22, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by J Pat Carter/Getty Images)

If you thought a ticket for Kobe Bryant’s last game would be scarce, try getting a media credential. Not only is the game at Staples Center sold out, but media credentials have been capped at between 400-500 reporters. Los Angeles Lakers’ publicist John Black says it’s one of the most-covered NBA regular season games in history. Tonight’s game between the Lakers and the Utah Jazz will not only have media from across the country, but around the globe. An estimated 60 reporters from 15 countries such as Australia, Brazil, China, England, France, Germany, and Taiwan are expected to be in attendance.

And the media requests are still pouring in. Another 200 requests have been turned down as of Tuesday. Normally Staples Center can accommodate 225-250 media representatives, but with double that number, the overflow will have to watch the game off a monitor in the press room.

It’s one thing to have fans wanting to attend the game, however, with Bryant’s influence on sports not just in the United States, but on a global level, it’s not surprising to see so many reporters wanting to cover the game. Black told ESPN.com that they could have filled more requests, but had to keep the number between 400-500:

“For a regular-season game, that’s astronomical,” Frank said, “and it could have been more, but we had obvious space limitations.”

Normally, the international contingent for a regular season Lakers game falls between 10-12 reporters and during the height of Jeremy Lin’s popularity, it reached to 15-25, but for it to reach 60 is definitely an anomaly.

This will be a celebrity-studded affair with plenty of former Lakers in attendance:

Flea, the bassist of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, will play the national anthem, and there will be a tribute video. About two dozen of Bryant’s former teammates are also expected to attend, including Shaquille O’Neal, with whom Bryant won three championships.

The city of Los Angeles will take part in the celebration by renaming one of its downtown train stations in Bryant’s honor Wednesday. The Pico Station on Metro’s Blue and Expo rail lines will for a day become the Kobe Station.

In addition, ESPN2 will carry the game at 10:30 p.m. ET with Mike Tirico, Hubie Brown and Lisa Salters on the call.


About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

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