Gianna & Kobe Memorial Service Included Tearful Tributes From Vanessa Bryant, Michael Jordan & Shaq [VIDEO]
Thousands of fans and notable sports figures were brought to tears on Monday morning (Feb. 24th), during an emotional tribute in remembrance of former NBA superstar Kobe and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna Bryant, at Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles.
The 20,000 ticketed mourners in attendance included an All-Star lineup with Dwyane Wade, Gabrielle Union, Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Rick Foxx, Magic Johnson, Lisa Leslie, and Snoop Dogg who saw moving tributes from friends such as Alicia Keys, Christina Aguilera, and hosted by Jimmy Kimbella. To kick off the hour long memorial, Beyoncé took the stage singing two of Kobe’s favorite songs, “XO” and “Halo.”
Beyoncé opens Kobe & Gianna’s Celebration of Life with one of his favorite songs.
— NBA TV (@NBATV) February 24, 2020
Former Los Angeles Lakers teammate and close friend, Shaquille O’Neal took the stage with his moving tribute speech about the day Bryant earned his respect. O’Neal says during their early years as Lakers, several teammates were complaining to him about Bryant becoming a ball hog. O’Neal goes on to tell the crowd Bryant’s hilarious reaction during their talk.
“I said, ‘Kobe, there’s no I in team. And Kobe said, ‘I know. But there’s an M-E in that motherf—er.’”
The entire Staples Center crowd chuckled, and the camera panned to Bryant’s widow Vanessa Bryant, who was also filled with laugher from O’Neal’s story. In addition, Hall of Famer Michael Jordan spoke candidly about his relationship with Bryant who Jordan viewed as his “little brother.” He says Bryant would text him in the early mornings of the day,
“At first, it was an aggravation. But then it turned into a certain passion. This kid had passion like you would never know.”
“He wanted to be the best basketball player that he could be. And as I got to know him, I wanted to be the best big brother that I could be.”
Jordan also compared his emotions for Bryant to his infamous internet meme of him being visual emotional and red-eyed for his induction to the game’s hall of fame. Jordan says,
“I told my wife I wasn’t going to do this because I didn’t want to see this for another three or four years. This is what Kobe Bryant does to you.”
As previously reported, a near the family’s Newport Coast home two weeks ago (Feb. 7th), at the Pacific View Memorial Park in Corona Del Mar.
The widow of Bryant had one of the most emotional speeches during the ceremony. Vanessa made her first appearance since the tragic death of her daughter and late husband nearly one month ago. Vanessa delivered a two-part, 20 minute speech first honoring her 13-year-old daughter Gianna.
“Kobe always said [Gigi] was me. She had my fire, my personality and sarcasm. She was tender and loving on the inside. She had the best laugh. It was infectious. It was pure and genuine.”
Throughout the entire speech, Vanessa showed an immense amount of strength, ending her message by speaking on the bond between Kobe and Gianna.
“God knew they couldn’t be on this earth without each other. He had to bring them home to heaven together. May you both rest in peace and have fun in heaven until we meet again. We love you.”
See full speech below:
We send our condolences to all families involved.